Throughout the course of your life, you are going to need a variety of health care services for you and your family. The first basic need is for either individual or family medical coverage. Many employers will offer you an affordable group plan like an HMO. If your work does not provide health care or you own your own business, then you will need to explore other medical coverage options. There are a variety of insurance providers out there with a range of services, including emergency accident services and discounts on prescriptions and doctor visits. In some countries, there is even something called universal health care, which is free and sponsored by the government of that state or country.
Health care needs should be evaluated on an individual basis, as there are no general guidelines for what each individual patient needs. For example, if you are elderly you may want a plan that includes money for living in a senior community. If you suffer from mental illness you will need a plan that includes mental health services. Or if you take a lot of medication, a plan that can help you pay for your medicine might be best. While you may only think in the short-term because your senior years seem far away, remember that one day you will be elderly and may need special care. It is important to think about your long-term health and find an insurance provider you can trust. Picking a provider is a big decision, so talk to your friends and family, and maybe even your employer, about what option is right for you.
When you or a family member is struck with an illness or has specific medical needs, many types of health services are available to you. The following terms are common types of health care services and terms you may encounter.
- Hospice – A comprehensive health care service provided to patients with life-threatening illnesses. This kind of care focuses on emotional support and comfort, rather than curative measures. Services can be provided in an elderly care center, hospital or at the patient’s home.
- Assisted Living – A service or facility that helps elderly individuals with basic tasks, such as chores and taking medication. Senior individuals in these facilities are monitored to ensure their safety, though they generally do not require the same attention as in a nursing home.
- Primary Care Physician – The main doctor that provides medical services. A PCP is a physician who serves as a group member’s primary doctor. The doctor is the first point of contact for medical problems, but may refer a patient to specialist in certain cases.
- Deductible – A set amount that the insured must pay in order to receive coverage for their medical expenses. The deductible can vary depending on whether the plan is for a family or individual.
- Co-insurance – A component of a health insurance plan where the insured must pay a portion of the medical expenses incurred, in addition to the deductible. Covered medical expenses are medical costs that are entirely covered by a health insurance plan.
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Service – A mental health service designed for patients who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or destructive behavior. These facilities provide a combination of counseling and medication treatments.
- Nursing Home – A residential care center that provides nursing assistance for senior or mentally ill patients.
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