General Health Insurance Requirements: Are You Eligible?

General health insurance is the most basic type of health insurance designed to cover a wide variety of medical expenses. It does not cover every aspect of your health, but it does take care of most of your basic health needs. General health insurance can be grouped into several different types, each with its own eligibility requirements. While general health insurance policies that fall under a certain type have some similarities, each policy is at least slightly different. That is why it is impossible to come up with the list of requirements that would be true for every single general insurance policy. This article will cover each type of insurance and outline their general eligibility requirements. If you want more specific information, you would have to examine each policy on case-by-case basis.

Health Insurance Basics

Health insurance policies help you pay your medical expenses. In United States, there are four ways you can get health insurance. You can apply for a government-run health insurance program. You can get insurance through your place of employment. You can enroll in a group-based insurance policy. Finally, you can buy a private insurance policy. Each one comes with its own requirements and each one is geared toward a certain type of customer.

Government-Run Health Insurance Programs

General government-run health insurance programs are designed to provide the coverage for social and economic groups that may not be able to qualify for other types of general health insurance. Government-run programs tend to be more utilitarian then some of the other programs, meaning that you may not be able to get access to some of the more advanced medical procedures and technology. On the other hand, they are significantly cheaper than the alternatives. Government health insurance programs are run on either federally or state level. They include:

Medicare - a federal program that covers health care to senior citizens who contributed to Social Security during their lifetime.

Medicaid - a program that covers health care for people from lower income brackets. While the program is federally run, each state has it's own standards about who qualifies for Medicaid.

State risk pools - state-based programs that provide coverage for people who have medical conditions that disqualify them from other types of insurance coverage. As of this writing, 31 out of 50 states have risk pools.

State Children’s Health Insurance Program - a joint state/federal program that provides coverage for children whose parents don't qualify for Medicaid but nonetheless don't have enough money to cover their medical costs.

Employee Sponsored Health Insurance

Under employee sponsored health insurance plans, your employer covers your medical costs as part of your employee benefits package. It is available automatically regardless of your pre-existing medical conditions and you won't be dropped if you get sick. The insurer can limit your coverage, but this can only done for up to 18 months. The coverage is fairly extensive, often including dental and eye insurance as part of the package. However, your choice of doctors is limited. If you leave your employee (be it on voluntary or non-voluntary basis), you would still be covered for 18-36 months after your departure.

Group Insurance

Group Insurance provides coverage for members of a small group. Small businesses that can't afford to have an employee sponsored health insurance plan often use it to provide health insurance for their workers. It can also be used by a variety of social and community organizations, as well as charities. The policies usually have lower insurance rates then some of the alternatives, but the coverage is more limited.

Individual Insurance

Individual insurance is an insurance policy that you can buy from a private insurance provider. While they offer the most extensive range of health care options, they are much stricter qualifications than any other type of health insurance. Individual insurance providers look at your age, your health history, your place of residence and what kind of health risk you are facing on daily basis. Any of those factors can either disqualify you or limit you to more expensive policies. And while the rates stay low while you are young and healthy, they increase as you get older and every time you get sick.

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