Health insurance is designed to cover the cost of an individual’s medical expenses. Typically, depending on the type of health insurance plan that has been taken out, the insured individual will pay for the medical expenses upfront and then will be reimbursed at a later stage by the insurance provider company. Alternatively, the insurance company themselves sometimes pay for the medical expenses directly to the health care provider i.e. a hospital or doctors surgery. You can never overvalue good health and this is why health insurance is a vital component in looking out for both your health and your finances and this is why millions of people have decided to set up a plan.
This article will take you through what you can expect to be offered by health insurance companies, as well as taking you through examples of some of the most popular and most reliable health insurance companies in the market today.
Health Insurance in different countries
Health insurance varies from country to country. In the UK with the National Health Service the system is based on ‘single payment’ system which means that people employed in the health care sector are viewed as employees of the government and funding comes from taxation. Similar systems exist in some of the Scandinavian countries and Canada. In these countries, as the cost of health care is covered by the government and is therefore free, there is less requirement to take out a private health care plan. However, this does not necessarily mean that people do not opt for this type of health care plan and millions of people still seek out this type of private insurance coverage.
In countries without the good fortune of having a public system such as this, however, the system is much different. It is entirely on the individual person to ensure that their health care is covered. This means going to health insurance companies and taking out a sufficient health care insurance plan. You can never take good health for granted and the likelihood for most people is that over their lifetime it is highly plausible and likely that they will require some form of medical care on a number of occasions. This is where health insurance companies come in to ensure that you can receive this treatment at an affordable cost should you ever require it!
How do I choose the right health insurance company?
Even in the UK where there is a public health care system such as the NHS you are still spoilt for choice when it comes to health insurance companies. Each health insurance provider has their own network of hospitals, surgeries and doctors and therefore it is really advisable to do your research on hospitals which may be in your area or you have had prior good experiences with and which health care companies are affiliated with them. This is a useful and simple step which should help you narrow down your process of searching for a provider a fair bit.
Typically, the types of insurance companies that offer health insurance are lifetime insurance companies and general insurance companies. It is advised that when choosing an insurance company to provide you with health insurance you should always opt with general insurance companies over lifetime insurance companies. This is simply due to the fact that with lifetime insurance companies their primary focus and emphasis is on cases where an individual passes away and is more to do with compensation reaching the family after a death and therefore insurance plans from these firms tend to be more expensive.
It may seem obvious, but simply doing some research on the various health insurance plans that different companies provide it useful and allows you to compare what each health insurance company has to offer. It is important to understand exactly what types of plans each company provides, i.e. a policy where you pay for the healthcare upfront and then are reimbursed at a later date or a policy where the insurance company pays for the health care directly. For more information and to gain a better understanding generally of private health insurance then be sure to check out our earlier blog post on the topic.
So who exactly are the companies that provide Health Insurance then?
Well, as mentioned above, there are a vast number of different companies in different countries all across the world that can provide you with health insurance plans.
In the United Kingdom, there are five main companies that make up the bulk of the market with a 90% share. These companies are namely AXA, Aviva, WPA, Bupa and Vitality. Bupa is a massively popular and prominent international health care group that serve 32 million people across the world. Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurance provider, is one of the oldest in the business with over 300 years of experience. In 2013, AXA was named the best health care provider by Your Money and again, is one of the UK’s largest insurance firms. These three are definitely some of the companies that you should be exploring on your search for health insurance.
The top five health insurance companies in America are as follows: United Health Group, Kaiser Foundation Group, WellPoint Inc. Group, Aetna Group and Humana Group. In a much larger country like the US, however, there are many more companies that vary from state to state that make up the market and therefore selecting a specific company can be difficult which is why insurance comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com and comparethemarket.com can come in handy!
We would like to wish you all the best with selecting the right health insurance company for you.