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Which health insurance policy should I keep? Consumer Q&A

By on September 30th, 2011
Filed: Advice, Health Insurance

Billie Holiday begins her wonderful rendition of ‘God Bless the Child’ with the lines: “Them that’s got shall have, them that’s not shall lose.” And that’s how it seems to work sometimes. It’s less surprising to see someone with a million dollars end up with two million than it is to see someone with nothing at all end up with a million dollars.

Believe it or not, this happens with health insurance too. According to the latest figures, there are nearly fifty million people in the United States without it. And yet there are others who have multiple lines of coverage. It’s not that they’re being grabby – things just come out that way sometimes. When you have two working spouses, for example, and both employers offer health insurance, then they might end up with two lines of coverage.

We found another example on Yahoo Answers recently. In this case, the asker had purchased an individual health insurance policy. Then she got a job with an employer that provided group coverage too. She wanted to know: Should I keep both policies, or which one should I cancel?

The eHealthInsurance reply was voted Best Answer:

There may be benefits to having two lines of health insurance; it can potentially reduce the total amount you pay out of pocket for certain medical services. It doesn’t always do that, however, and most people can’t afford to pay for two lines of coverage.

Generally speaking, most people will cancel a personal health insurance plan when they get enrolled in an employer’s group policy. But before you do that, make sure that the employer’s policy really covers the services you need and that the amount taken from your paycheck to pay for the premiums makes sense financially. Some people may find that they prefer their own policies and opt out of the employer-based plan instead. That’s a personal choice.

Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum

About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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