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Group Health Insurance

Employer sponsored group health insurance is one of the most important benefits a company can provide for it's employees. Group health insurance usually costs less than individual health insurance that you buy on your own.

Group health insurance plans are developed through financial structures such as payroll tax or a monthly premium. It is usually provided by an employer or union and depending on years of employment and negotiated factors, it can extend through your retirement years.

With the skyrocketing costs of doctor's visits and hospital stays, a good health insurance plan is what most people want when they start a job. It can be the determining factor in whether an employee, including his or her family, stays healthy or, in many cases, lives.

Health insurance insures that a person can see a doctor when necessary without having to pay the full medical bill, which can be very expensive. The insured, in many cases, is only charged a co-payment, which is an out of pocket expense that offsets a portion of the costs that an insurance company has to pay for a doctor's visit or for the insured to obtain a prescription from a pharmacy. A co-pay may cost the patient anywhere from $10 to $50 or more depending on the plan.

Without company sponsored health insurance plans, many people would not be able to afford medical attention when they need it. A three or four day hospital stay can cost in excess of $30,000 to $40,000 or more, depending on the ailment you have.

If you don't have medical insurance, or lots of money, your options may not be the best. You may find yourself delaying medical attention or not seeing a doctor at all, which is not a very good option. You may have to go to facility that is staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses or you may have to go to a government facility, which is usually a county run hospital or clinic.

When you get a job, your first order of business should be signing up for health insurance. Your employer may offer different plans so you should compare plans and make informed decisions.

It is very important to know what your share of the costs will be. If you add someone else to your plan such as a child, a spouse or a partner, or a dependent, your costs will probably go up.

You may not think you need a particular coverage today, but if you are planning on having children, you may want to take a plan that covers prenatal care. This is important because some health care plans don't cover the full cost of prenatal care.

Most companies have an open enrollment period, usually in the fall. This is the time when you can change health care plans that may be more of a benefit to you.

An important part of choosing a health care plan is knowing what your rights are concerning pre-existing conditions, injuries or illnesses, that you had before your started the plan. In most cases, a group health plan cannot refuse to cover you if there is a preexisting condition but there may be a waiting period imposed before the illness or injury is covered. The waiting period can be up to six months, but no longer.

If you are laid off, if your hours are cut, or if you take a new job, it is important that you keep your group health insurance coverage intact until you get a new job. The premiums will go up but may still be cheaper than individual health insurance and the benefits will be better.

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