Health Insurance

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The concept of health insurance was proposed in 1694 by Hugh the Elder Chamberlen from the Peter Chamberlen family. In the late 19th century, early health insurance was actually disability insurance, in the sense that it covered only the cost of emergency care for injuries that could lead to a disability[citation needed]. This payment model continued until the start of the 20th century in some jurisdictions (like California), where all laws regulating health insurance actually referred to disability insurance. Patients were expected to pay all other health care costs out of their own pockets, under what is known as the fee-for-service business model. During the middle to late 20th century, traditional disability insurance evolved into modern health insurance programs. Today, most comprehensive private health insurance programs cover the cost of routine, preventive, and emergency health care procedures, and also most prescription drugs, but this was not always the case

A Health insurance policy is an annually renewable contract between an insurance company and an individual. With health insurance claims, the individual policy-holder pays a deductable plus copayment (for instance, a hospital stay might require the first $1000 of fees to be paid by the policy-holder plus $100 per night stayed in hospital). Usually there is a maximum out-of-pocket payment for any single year, and there can be a lifetime maximum.

Prescription drug plans are a form of insurance offered through many employer benefit plans in the U.S., where the patient pays a copayment and the prescription drug insurance pays the rest.

Some health care providers will agree to bill the insurance company if patients are willing to sign an agreement that they will be responsible for the amount that the insurance company doesn't pay, as the insurance company pays according to "reasonable" or "customary" charges, which may be less than the provider's usual fee. The "reasonable" and "customary" charges can vary.

Health insurance companies also often have a network of providers who agree to accept the reasonable and customary fee and waive the remainder. It will generally cost the patient less to use an in-network provider.

source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance

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