Health Insurance For Veterans

Health Insurance for Veterans

Health Insurance is one of the most important things you could buy to protect your family and yourself from financial burden during unforeseen circumstances. With Veterans, health insurance can be a tricky situation because we have access to the Veterans Administration (VA). As a single Veteran, health insurance might not sound like a big deal to you, but if you have a family, the VA does not cover them. So, what should you do if you’re a Veteran with a family who is concerned about getting them covered and protected?

Civilian Health Insurance and the VA

Before we get into the different health insurances that are best for you and your family, we need to discuss the incredibly important topic of VA versus civilian health insurance. For example, I am service-connected above 50%, which gives me complete access to the VA, and I can never get a bill from them. However, since I got civilian health insurance, the VA can charge my civilian coverage for things that are not service-connected. When I first learned of this, I thought it was another way for the VA to screw over Veterans, since they’re really good at that. After I read more, I realized that it’s a good thing because the VA has a concrete budget line that can’t be crossed without extensive cuts to VA related programs. The best part about this is you’ll never receive a bill either way, so it’s best to tell the VA of your civilian health insurance. It’s better to have billion-dollar companies take the bill instead of the VA because of the limited funds the VA has.

What are the Best Health Insurance Companies?

Discovering the best health insurance companies is relative to your state, financial situation, and the level coverage needed by your family. For the sake of argument, I am going to review the companies that offer the most complete health insurance companies. There are 2 types of health insurance you need to know about; short-term health insurance and long-term health insurance. We will be discussing ONLY short-term health insurance and will do long-term health insurance for our next blog.

Is There a Difference Between Life and Health Insurance?

Yes, health insurance covers you and your family for things like doctor’s bills, prescriptions, and maternity issues, such as sonograms and vitamin supplementation. Life insurance is there to protect you from incurring the costs if the money-maker in your household dies or is incapacitated. If you need more information on life insurance, this blog is an excellent resource for you. For our active-duty soldiers reading this, you should look up the Service Member’s Life Insurance (SGLI).

Why Would You Need Short-Term Health Insurance?

There are many reasons to have short-term health insurance over long-term health insurance, so if you have any of the following issues, short-term health insurance might be right for you. Many people have trouble meeting deadlines because life gets in the way with busy schedules and no time for your personal requirements. If you miss the open deadline for the Affordable Healthcare Act (Nov1-Dec 15, 2019), short-term health insurance can keep you covered until the next chance to apply for the universal healthcare option. The table below gives you more reasons to think about short-term health insurance over other insurance options. If any of these fit your specific situation, you should look into the 3 companies that we discuss here.

 

Reasons for getting short-term health insurance
If your employer doesn’t offer a benefits package, short-term insurance is a great option to get covered at a cheaper right in a shorter wait time
If you missed the open enrollment of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare)
If you’re a small business owner without employees, short-term insurance offers lower premiums and deductibles
If your doctor doesn’t cover Obamacare, short-term insurance gives you more flexibility to see more doctors
If you’re between jobs and need coverage for your family, this is the best option for you

Why You Wouldn’t get Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance sounds great, but it’s not the best option for everyone because there are some situations that short-term health insurance doesn’t cover. Short-term insurance is best used if you get seriously hurt (broken leg, back, etc…) or seriously ill (cancer, diabetes, etc…). I had not found a short-term plan that offers to cover any pre-existing condition, which is something you had before you signed with the insurance company. For example, if you have Cancer and then get short-term health insurance, no company will cover any of the cancer treatment. If you have the plan and then get cancer, they will cover the full amount of the plan. The other 2 big things short-term insurance doesn’t cover (most of the time) is maternity and mental health bills. If you need mental health services, short-term insurance is not a good option for you.

Winner: Agile Health Insurance

Agile Health Insurance is a mediator between insurance companies and the customer to provide the customer with multiple options from dozens of companies. I chose this as the winner because I think you should start your search with Agile to get a good base on what you’re looking for and what the costs would be. Agile gets paid from the insurance companies, and their commission is roughly the same for every company, so they can stay relatively objective. The 1st plan that I will highlight is the Standard Life Select STM Plan because it’s a great place to start your research to get an understanding of what works best for your family.

Standard Life Select STM Plan 2 5000/30/1M Extended

Standard Life Insurance is one of the best short-term and accident insurance companies we have in our country. This plan is advertised on the Agile platform, so it can be confusing on whether it’s a Standard Life plan or something exclusive with Agile. To clear that up, this is similar to the same plan you’d get from their direct website.

Pros:
  • Unlimited doctor/Urgent Care visits with a $50 co-pay
  • Freedom to choose any doctor you want
  • 1 wellness exam per coverage period with no deductible ($75 max)
Cons:
  • No OB-GYN coverage for women
  • No infant care
  • No pre-post natal coverage
  • Limited mental health coverage
What are the Benefits and Coverage for this Plan

The Standard Life STM Plan is a Preferred  Provider Organization (PPO) Plan that is designed to give you the most flexibility and coverage options for you and your family. This plan gives you the opportunity to see any doctor you want without added fees or deductibles. This plan only covers you for 12 months (1 year), so you can get an idea of the short-term option that is right for you after this 1 year.

 

Standard Life STM Plan
Deductable $5,000 per covered person, maximum of 3 deductibles per family per coverage period
Policy Term 12 Months
Coinsurance 30% After Deductible
Max Out Of Pocket Cost $11,000
Monthly Fee $29.99
Maximum Benefit $1,000,000
Stop-Loss Amount $6,000-Individual

$18,000-Family

 

Runner-Up: Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze X 7500 – HMO

The Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze plan is a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, which is a plan that limits coverage to providers who are within the plan’s network and require a doctor’s referral to see specialists. HMO’s are more restrictive than the PPO’s because you may not be able to pick the doctor you want to see. However, the HMO plan covers more after the deductible is met and covers more issues than a standard PPO plan.

Pros:

  • Lower max out of pocket cost than most other plans
  • Covers OB-GYN services
  • Covers Prescription drugs
  • Covers pre-post natal services
  • Coinsurance is about 10% higher than other plans
  • Covers 40% of lab costs after the deductible

Cons:

  • Much less flexibility in choosing your care provider
  • If you have a bigger family, this would be difficult to afford

What are the Benefits and Coverage for This Plan?

The HMO plan is the most significant difference in this plan, but this plan also adds drug prescription coverage, lab test results, OB-GYN care, pre-natal, and post-natal care is also covered. With this short-term insurance, you’re going to have to spend at least $7,500 before you can reap the benefits of the plan. Another aspect to keep in mind is the fact that the $7,500 is for each person, so you could be out $15,000 for you and 1 child if a catastrophic accident or illness happens.

Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze
Deductable $7,500 per person
Policy Term 12 Months
Coinsurance 40% After Deductible
Max Out Of Pocket Cost $8,500
Monthly Fee $25.99
Maximum Benefit $1,000,000
Stop-Loss Amount $8,500 per person
Drug Prescriptions 40% after deductible

3rd Place: Blue Cross Blue Shield

Blue Cross Blue Shield is by far my personal favorite health insurance, and it’s the one that I currently have with my wife. Blue Cross Blue Shield has one of the biggest networks in the country and is used by the majority of large corporations because of the size of the network and quality of the coverage. Very rarely does short-term health insurance cover maternity and child care needs, but Blue Cross Blue Shield is the most complete possible insurance you could have, in my opinion.

Pros:

  • Diagnostic tests and imaging
  • Prescription drugs plan
  • Immediate medical attention
  • Outpatient surgery
  • No extra charge for Preventive care
  • Maternity care
  • Metal health, behavioral health, and substance abuse needs
  • Child needs (dental or eye care)

Cons:

  • Not great for rural areas with fewer doctors

What Are The Benefits From This Plan?

One significant thing to consider when reviewing these numbers is that each state will give you different quotes and coverage options. If you live in more populous states, such as California, Texas, Florida, you might end up paying more than you would in a place like Kansas or Idaho. The fact that there is no maximum benefit should put you at ease in any emergency that your family might face.

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield
Deductable $4,400 per person
Policy Term 12 Months
Coinsurance 40% After Deductible
Max Out Of Pocket Cost $12,000
Monthly Fee N/A
Maximum Benefit No Maximum
Stop-Loss Amount $6,000
Drug Prescriptions 40% after deductible

 

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