First Dollar Coverage
With all of the various political in media attention focused on the healthcare industry, it can be quite confusing for an individual to understand his or her rights when it comes to obtaining and maintaining coverage. The policies themselves are difficult to read anyway, and most people simply do not have time that it takes to fully vet a medical policy in the first place.
First dollar coverage simply means that for the specified procedure, the first dollar does not come out of your pocket in the form of a deductible or a co-pay. Your insurance company will begin their coverage on your policy from the first dollar that you were charged for procedures that are included in this type of coverage.
For some health insurance policies, this first dollar coverage does not mean that the company covers the entire first dollar. It may mean, especially with some PPOs, that the company will start paying its part of the percentage that is responsible for from the first dollar. For instance, if your healthcare policy says that it will cover 60% of the specified procedure, a first dollar coverage stipulation would mean that there would be no deductible for you, and the company would start paying out on the first dollar, meaning that their outlay would be $.60. You would still be responsible for the first $.40 out of this first dollar and all subsequent dollars you were charged.
For this reason, you cannot assume that just because you have first dollar coverage that you will end up paying less. It is still necessary for you to see exactly what is stipulated by these first dollar coverage policies and get the one that is most advantageous to you. You should also make sure that the procedures that you are most likely to have are covered by first dollar policies and that you end up paying less overall with these policies than you would if you had one of the more traditional deductible policies.