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Self Pay Health Insurance

This article compares several different types of self-pay health insurance plans.

COBRA

If you worked at a job that employed twenty or more workers and provided group health insurance, you may be eligible for COBRA. COBRA allows you to continue your coverage at the group rates paid by your employer for up to eighteen months. This is often a less costly option than purchasing private health insurance.

Major Medical

Major medical insurance is sometimes called catastrophic health insurance. It is a type of insurance with low premiums and very high deductibles. Major medical does not cover routine doctor’s visits or minor illnesses, but having it can ease your financial burden considerably should you suffer a devastating health crisis.

HMO

HMO stands for health maintenance (or sometimes health management) organization. The premiums are usually reasonable. If you join an HMO, you are assigned a primary care physician (PCP) who manages all the medical care you receive. If you wanted to see a specialist, for instance, you would need to obtain a referral from your PCP. If you are with an HMO, it is very important that you follow referral protocols to the letter and that you stay within network. Most HMOs will not pay for visits to out-of-network doctors.

PPO

PPO stands for preferred provider organization. A PPO allows greater flexibility in choosing your healthcare providers than an HMO. Typically, you are welcome to see any doctor you choose, but the plan pays better if you stay in network. For instance, the plan might cover 70% of the cost of a visit to an in-network doctor but only 50% of the cost of a visit to an out-of-network doctor.

High Risk Pool

High risk pool insurance is cost-controlled insurance offered by some states to individuals whose medical conditions prevent them from purchasing private insurance.

When you purchase self-pay insurance it is important to know your options and select the plan that most closely fits with your economic and medical needs.

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