YOU ASK:

Does private health insurance provide better care?

WE ANSWER:

Let's make a list of the advantages of private health insurance over government-sponsored health insurance to see which one is better:

  • There are fewer people covered under private insurance so that the lines are shorter with private health insurance. With public insurance, you may have to wait a while before you can see your doctor or before you can avail of services such as routine screenings and surgeries.
  • Private health insurance usually has a more extensive network of doctors and medical practitioners. There are a number of doctors who refuse to provide treatment for Medicaid and Medicare patients. This is because these invariably require a lot of paperwork from the doctors even though the payments for treating Medicare and Medicaid patients are considerably lower than the amount paid by private health insurers.
  • Aside from the doctor, you yourself may have to contend with a lot of paperwork and red tape before you are able to avail of the medical services you need.
  • With a government-sponsored health insurance cover, you can only get covered if you are eligible. Medicare only covers those who are 65 years old and above and have fall below a specified income bracket. Other instances where one is eligible would be when one has already paid into Social Security or Railroad retirement benefits or if you are already a kidney patient and are requiring dialysis. Medicaid, on the other hand, will cover only those who have met disability, residency or citizenship, age and disability criteria.

Of course, the distinct advantage of government-sponsored health insurance is that they are considerably cheaper (and if you're eligible you can even be covered for free!).

Private insurance is pretty expensive, particularly if you want a plan that has low out-of-pocket costs and if you want a plan that is comprehensive. One's income may not be enough to cover the costs of premiums, and if you are ineligible for public health insurance, you may have to face the prospect of going without health insurance coverage.

Also, with the health care reform bill, you can expect to see continuous improvements in the product offerings sold by health insurance providers.

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