The cost of insuring a whole family will depend on the type of insurance plan you choose, the number of people in your household, your family’s health status and the health insurance provider and agent that issues your policy. For many families, health insurance expenditures take up a sizable percentage of their annual household budget. Nevertheless, the price of health insurance is much more affordable than the cost of paying for acute illnesses, emergency treatment or major medical expenses out of pocket.
Costs of Family Insurance
When you’re considering the cost of health insurance, it may be helpful to consider how much a policy will cost per year as well as how much you will pay each month. The price of health insurance for a family generally includes a monthly premium, an annual deductible and co-payments for specific services. Once you’ve met the deductible, your insurance provider will cover a percentage of your medical costs. Certain services may not be subject to a deductible, such as routine preventive care.
A managed care health insurance plan, like an HMO or a PPO, may have higher monthly premiums and a lower deductible than an indemnity policy. Monthly premiums for a basic indemnity policy may cost several hundred dollars per family, while premiums for a comprehensive managed care plan may cost up to $1,000 or more each month. With a managed care plan, your family’s medical treatment is overseen by a primary care physician, or PCP, who refers you for services within your network. If you seek treatment outside of the network, your costs will increase.
With an indemnity policy, you will have a higher deductible, which means that your family’s out of pocket costs for specific services will be higher. Each time you need to visit the doctor, have a diagnostic test, seek emergency care or go to the hospital, you will be required to pay for these costs until the deductible has been met. There may be an annual deductible for families and a lifetime maximum coverage limit. Deductibles may range from $1,500 per year to $10,000 or more. The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premium will usually be.
Comparing Benefits to Costs
When you compare the costs of family health insurance plans, compare the benefits that each plan provides to the cost. A comprehensive family plan may include routine checkups and screening exams, vaccinations, specialist consultations and outpatient procedures, physical therapy, inpatient treatment and hospitalization costs. A managed care plan can cover all aspects of your family’s health needs. A fee for service plan may cover checkups and annual screening, but most other medical services are subject to the deductible.
If you’re starting a new family, adding maternity services to a family health insurance plan will increase the cost. Most standard health insurance policies do not include maternity care, but you may add these benefits by purchasing a rider, or additional insurance. Adding a dental plan or vision coverage to your policy, two supplemental benefits that families with growing children should have, will increase the cost of your policy.
The cost of providing comprehensive insurance to a whole family can be substantial. However, the benefits that you and your children receive from a reliable health insurance plan are worth the cost. A family health insurance policy can give you greater peace of mind about your family’s physical condition and your household’s financial security. Routine checkups, annual screening exams, dental examinations and vision tests help prevent serious medical complications that could cost far more to correct in the future if they’re left untreated.