Prairie Community Bank Consumer Tip – June, 2011: Insurance Is No Longer a Luxury. It’s a Necessity.

The primary reason for health insurance is to protect you financially. Without insurance, you are financially responsible for all of your health-care costs. Fee-for-service: Pay a monthly premium; you select your doctor, hospital, and change doctors at your discretion.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): This plan contracts with its own group of doctors and hospitals, and you are limited to health care professionals in this group. Pay a monthly premium. Point-of-service (POS): You can select an out-of-network physician and receive some coverage. If a doctor within the network makes a referral outside of the network, the insurance plan will pay most, if not all, of the costs. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A PPO is a combination of an HMO and a fee-for-service plan.

Take charge of the health care for you and your family. Make sure to: read your insurance policy; visit your physician regularly for preventive care; keep health-care files for you and your family, noting dates of immunizations, doctor visits, hospital stays and treatment for illnesses; ask for copies of lab results; and keep a list of all medications and insurance claims.

Any type of illness can become serious, but you can alleviate a lot of worry by being prepared in advance and knowing what your insurance will pay and the expenses you are responsible for.