YOU ASK:

Public vs. Private Health Care insurance: What are the pros and cons?

WE ANSWER:

Health insurance, both private and public, have their own pros and cons. The important thing about health insurance is that it provides you with protection and will help you pay for your medical expenses when you need it.

Here are the pros and cons of public and private health care insurance:

Public Health Insurance

Pros:

  • Provides an affordable alternative over private insurance.
  • Provides an ever-increasing list of benefits even as it tries to keep the cost of insurance down.
  • You can get a combination of Medicare plans to achieve a more comprehensive plan.
  • If you are eligible, you can also get help with other out-of-pocket expenses.

Cons:

  • You have to be eligible to get the coverage you need. If you don't meet the eligibility requirements, you will not be able to receive coverage from public health insurance. Eligibility requirements include not just income, but also age, health condition, citizenship or immigrant status and disability. For instance, you can only get into Medicare if you are currently stricken with kidney disease and would need dialysis or if you are 65 years old and are already receiving social security retirement benefits.
  • There are doctors who are unwilling to serve patients who are covered under public health insurance since the payout per treatment is lower and there are a lot of paperwork involved.

Private Health Insurance

Pros:

  • Provides more choices for you to ensure that you get the quality of care that you want.
  • Has a wider network of doctors and providers, as compared with public health insurance. In addition, if you opt for a Preferred Provider Organization, you can also have more freedom since you can choose a doctor outside of the network.

Cons:

  • Costs considerably more than public health insurance.
  • You still have to content with other out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-payments.
  • Currently, you can still be denied coverage or have exclusions due to your health condition. However, this will change once the healthcare reform bill is fully implemented.
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