There is a new health care delivery system on the market called “Consumer Driven Health Care,” more commonly known as Health and Dental Discount Programs. As with many cutting-edge concepts, this one has created a bit of controversy.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the people making the most noise on one side or the other of the issue are the ones who are make their living in the health benefits industry.
Unfortunately, this professional “siding up” just leaves the general population stuck in the middle, confused and wondering what is best for them.
In reality, there is no reason to be up in arms over the new Health and Dental Discount Programs. These programs are not meant for everyone, but rather they were designed specifically for the people who have slipped through the cracks in the current health care coverage system.
If you have health insurance now, keep it! If you can get comprehensive health insurance, get it.
If, however, you are in one of the following situations, becoming a member in a dental and/or health discount program may very well help you:
1. You have been turned down for all health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
2. You have a pre-existing condition, have been accepted for “high risk” health insurance, and are left paying out of pocket for your care until (or unless) the cost reaches a set deductible that is very high (for example until you have paid $6,000/year out of pocket – or more).
3. You have health insurance, but you still have to pay full price for one or more of the following services: at the dentist, for new glasses or contact lenses, for your prescription medicine, for chiropractic care.
4. You already have one of the tax-free Health Savings Accounts set up, along with the required catastrophic health insurance policy, and you are paying full price – either out of pocket, or out of your HSA, for your health care until (or unless) you meet the high deductible of the health insurance policy.
5. You have talked with your insurance agent, have gone over your budget, and you truly cannot find traditional insurance coverage that you can afford.
If you are in one of the situations described above, by all means add health and/or dental discount programs to the options you look into.
As you would when selecting any service company or professional, it is important to do your homework. Check the internet web sites to see which health and dental discount companies have providers in your area.
Look at the value of the programs … how much will you pay per month to be a member of a specific discounts program, and approximately what type of savings will you receive in the various care areas of care.
Find out if you have to sign a contract for a certain length of time on the discount program. See if the company offers any type of satisfaction guarantee.
Check into the company’s credentials … in other words, how they stand with the Better Business Bureau, Consumer Health Alliance, and American Association of Dental Plans. Check to see if the company is listed with Dun & Bradstreet to make sure they are financially fit.
If you have any question about whether a discount program will work for your situation, contact a representative from both the benefit discounts company and the traditional health insurance industry.
Expect true professionals in either segment of the health benefits industry to show a willingness to investigate ALL the options that are available to you at the present time. Insisting on this high level of service by your professionals will ensure that you receive the very best personalized package of health care protection possible.