As you probably know, insurance companies are masters of fine print. You may think you have coverage for a condition or injury under your insurance, but when the worst happens, you may find out that you weren’t actually covered after all. Or, you may be covered, but you didn’t have as much coverage as you thought you did.
You can’t always protect yourselves from these gotchas. Many of us have insurance through our employers, and we don’t have power to negotiate the terms of those policies.
However, you can still avoid nasty surprises by reading the fine print in advance. Medical insurance is the type of insurance most people are familiar with, and while you don’t need to know your entire insurance policy by heart, you should know the basics of calculating your benefits – i.e., what your deductible, coinsurance, copay, and out-of-pocket maximums are.
The federal government maintains a web site that explains these terms and many more. You can find their glossary HERE
It is also a good idea to keep an eye on exclusions and limitations. If you or someone in your family has a medical condition, check your policy to see if it’s covered and whether there are any restrictions on how your insurer will pay for treatment for that condition.
This is true for other types of policies as well. For example, did you know that long term disability policies often have a two year limit for disabilities caused by mental or nervous conditions?
The fine print is not always bad, though! Sometimes policies contain provisions that can help you. For example, some life insurance policies will waive your premiums if you become disabled. Some disability insurance policies have cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) that can increase your benefit payments every year.
So, reading the fine print will not only protect you from bad surprises, but can also alert you to rights and benefits you may not even know you had.
Of course, reading the fine print isn’t always fun or easy, and that’s why lawyers exist. If you have an insurer who is giving you trouble over fine print, we may be able to help. Give us a call at (818) 886-2525 or via our online contact form. You don’t pay unless we win your claim, so you have nothing to lose!