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In light of recent economic hardship, many Americans are lookingfor ways they can cut costs. While some might consider reducing theamount of health care coverage they have, or eliminating italtogether, opting for this short-term savings could eventuallyresult in financial devastation.

A recent study by Harvard researchers found that medicalproblems caused 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies filed inthe U.S. in 2007. And simply having insurance did not protectpeople from financial hardship, as 78 percent of those who filedfor bankruptcy had some form of health insurance. Therefore, it’simportant to have coverage that you are confident will protect youfrom financial ruin in the worst scenarios.

If you’re considering dropping your health insurance coverage,or if you’re among the 46.3 million Americans who, according theCenters for Disease Control, are uninsured, here are a few thingsto consider:

* If you have health insurance that is at least partiallycovered by your employer, it’s probably your most affordable optionand you should do whatever you can to keep it. However, you shouldstill carefully examine what your employer’s plan offers to makesure you’d be able to afford care in a catastrophic situation.

* If you are unemployed, between jobs or your employer doesn’toffer insurance, do some shopping around for plans that are rightfor you. Websites like www.healthinsurancefinders.comallow you to enter your information and get free health insurancequotes. Again, make sure you know exactly what a plan offers beforeyou decide to buy insurance. Short-term health insurance plans areavailable and a good option if you know you’ll only be without along-term solution for short period of time.

* Consider a plan that is right for you. Whether you are buyinginsurance on your own, or your employer offers multiple options,chose a plan that will allow you to get the best care for the bestvalue. If you’re in good health and don’t make frequent visits tothe doctor or have regular prescriptions to fill, a high-deductibleoption with lower annual premiums might be a good choice. But youshould be sure you can afford the deductible if something majorwould happen. Plans that offer a Health Savings Account (HSA)option are a good alternative, because they allow you to put awaymoney that you can use toward your deductible tax-free. If you ormembers of your family who will be covered by the plan makefrequent visits to the doctor, a plan with higher annual premiumsand lower deductible might be a better choice.

Health insurance can be a confusing topic, so if you havequestions, ask an expert or do some research on the offers a free forum where you can askexperts questions on health insurance at

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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