If you need to get health insurance quickly and affordably, it’s a good idea to get online quotes from top-rated companies. But how do you know which providers offer cheap health insurance in Alabama? Benzinga compared top-rated health insurance companies to help you get the best deal on coverage for yourself and your family.
The Best Cheap Health Insurance Companies in Alabama
- Best Overall: Aetna Life Insurance Company
- Most Affordable: HealthSpring of Alabama Inc.
- Best Customer Service: Humana Benefit Plan of Illinois Inc.
- Best for Claims: UnitedHealthcare of Alabama Inc.
- Best for Seniors: Care Improvement Plus South Central Insurance Company
What is Health Insurance?
Health insurance helps protect you financially in case of illness or injury. There are several health insurance companies in Alabama that offer affordable health insurance. Some residents obtain health insurance through their work, while others elect to participate in state exchanges or buy an individual or family policy.
You’ll likely come across different terms that have to do with coverage. It’s important to know what these terms mean since they’ll determine how much you’re required to pay and how much is covered by your insurance company.
- Premium: This is a fee that you pay every month to the insurance company to keep your policy active.
- Deductible: This is the money that you have to pay first before insurance kicks in. Some plans have high deductibles but low premiums and vice versa.
- Copay: This is a small amount of money that’s paid to your doctor or specialist when you visit. It does not count toward your deductible.
- Coinsurance: This is a percentage that you and your insurance pay when you get treatment or surgery. You might see this written as 80/20, which the insurance pays 80% of the total and you pay 20%.
Average Cost of Health Insurance in Alabama
Alabama residents pay an average of $1,510 per month in coverage. Unlike auto insurance, health insurance doesn’t have a variety of discounts available, but there are some things that you can do to help keep your insurance prices lower.
- Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI): A high body mass index can lead to complications later in life, including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Taking steps to lose weight and eat healthy can help you maintain a healthy BMI.
- Quit using tobacco: Approximately 22% of people in Alabama smoke. Smokers pay higher insurance rates, so it’s a good idea to stop smoking, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Types of Health Coverage
There are several types of health insurance coverage in Alabama. Here are the most common:
- Health maintenance organization (HMO): An HMO is a medical network that consists of doctors, hospitals and specialists that have agreed to participate in the HMO to help simplify medical costs and treatment. You’ll choose a primary physician who is responsible for your care. In order to see a specialist, you must have a referral from your primary physician and for the cost to be covered by the HMO, the specialist must also be in the network. As a result of this close-knit health care management system, you’ll have very little paperwork to deal with and you’ll enjoy lower costs. This makes an HMO a great choice for cheap health insurance in Alabama.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO): A PPO provides you with a larger network of doctors and hospitals, and you won’t need a referral from your doctor in order to see a specialist. If you choose to see a doctor outside of the PPO network, you’ll pay more than if you saw one in-network, and you may have to file a claim with the PPO to be reimbursed for some of the cost. This results in more paperwork but also more freedom and flexibility in seeing a doctor or specialist outside of your network.
- Point of service (POS) plan: A POS plan is like a combination of HMO and PPO plans and it allows you the freedom to choose your own doctor but with a lower amount of paperwork. You may have to pay a portion of the bill and file a claim with the POS provider to be reimbursed, but you’ll get the largest degree of freedom to see the doctor and specialist that you want.
What Does Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance covers treatments, procedures and surgeries related to illnesses or injuries. Depending on your plan, it may also cover some or all of the following:
- Ambulance services
- Rehabilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Mental health care
- Wellness checks
- Pediatric care
- Emergency services
- Newborn and maternity care
- Prescription drugs
What Does Health Insurance not Cover?
Health insurance typically does not cover:
- Elective or cosmetic procedures
- Long-term nursing home care
- Infertility treatments
- Alternative therapies
- Dental, vision and hearing
Cheapest Health Insurance Providers in Alabama
The best health insurance in Alabama will depend on what you’re looking for in a health care provider. Below are some of the cheapest health insurance plans available to fit your needs and budget.
1. Aetna Life Insurance Company
Highly-rated by the National Center for Quality Assurance, this PPO plan achieved top marks from its customers for its ability to get care easily and quickly. Customers were able to find a specialist in the network that was also rated well, and care is also consistently coordinated.
The company also received good ratings for preventive treatments like vaccines for adults and children, as well as maternity and newborn care. Overall, the company is a solid choice for if you need cheap health insurance in Alabama for an individual or family.
2. HealthSpring of Alabama Inc.
HealthSpring may not have quite as large a network as some of the other providers, like UnitedHealthcare, Humana and Aetna, but if you are looking for a health insurance company that helps with all aspects of chronic condition management, it’s worth getting a quote.
3. Humana Benefit Plan of Illinois Inc.
Humana is a well-known health insurance provider nationwide and is rated highly for its extensive network of doctors and hospitals. Preventive care is also well-received by members and members report satisfaction and ease with getting flu shots, pneumonia shots, BMI assessments and certain cancer screenings.
Overall, the Humana health plan receives high marks, but disease management could be improved in terms of the members’ satisfaction with the level of care provided.
4. UnitedHealthcare of Alabama Inc.
In addition to offering health insurance in Alabama, UnitedHealthcare also offers a variety of HMO Medicare supplement plans, so it may be a smart choice to consider getting a quote from them if you or a family member will soon be eligible for Medicare.
UnitedHealthcare received good reviews for preventive care, including advice with regard to stopping smoking, as well as controlling high blood pressure. UnitedHealthcare also benefits from a large network of participating physicians, so it’s easy to find a doctor or hospital in your area that accepts this insurance plan.
5. Care Improvement Plus South Central Insurance Company
Care Improvement is another health insurance company that provides a Medicare Advantage plan. A subsidiary of UnitedHealthcare, Care Improvement offers much of the same benefits in terms of insurance coverage.
However, instead of being an HMO like UnitedHealthcare, Care Improvement Plus is a POS health insurance plan which allows you greater freedom to choose your own doctor and hospital without the need for a referral.
Get Health Care that Meets Your Needs
These are by no means the only providers of cheap health insurance in Alabama. You may also want to consider Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama or Sierra Health and Life Insurance Company as potential options to meet your health care needs. It’s a good idea to get quotes from each of the providers profiled here. Rates can vary dramatically from one provider to the next. Carefully consider all of your options and balance the right level of care with your budget and your needs. You’ll be able to find the right coverage at the right price!