Tony Novak profile picture
  "AskTony" column archive        


Most Popular

AskTony Archive

This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

The author is paid for product endorsements and has an ownership or other financial interest in the businesses related to the topics covered.

New questions

Submit consumer finance questions at and health insurance questions at

Sponsored by: Insurance Exchange - your source of valuable information on state and federal health reform benefits.

Core Health Insurance - America's favorite mini-med insurance  with affordable premiums, freedom to choose providers, optional PPO discounts and guaranteed eligibility regardless of medical conditions.

Please support the Web sites that make publication of AskTony services possible.

Basic health insurance

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: The coverage and pricing of "Basic Health Insurance" seems too good to be true in comparison with other health insurance plans. What am I missing?

A: It is true that Basic Health Insurance ( is one of the least expensive health insurance plans available today. It is also unique in that issued regardless of the applicant’s medical history and covers all pre-existing medical conditions after the policy has been in force for 6 months. This policy has no deductible or co-payments and can be used with any doctor or hospital in the United States. There is no network of providers and no required pre-authorization of treatment. Benefits are paid to the policyholder in cash even if other health insurance is available. All this adds up to a perception that this coverage is “too good to be true”. But this insurance provides only limited coverage, as the name implies. The maximum dollar amount of benefits available for each covered medical procedure is listed on the online quotation page, on the Web site, and in the policy itself. This health insurance policy is not designed to pay for all of your medical bills. It is great for covering part of the cost of an occasional doctor visit or lab work, but it would be silly to rely on this as the only insurance coverage for a surgery or hospital stay. This insurance is most appropriately used when used in combination with other catastrophic health insurance. It should not be the only health insurance except as a last resort.


More resources: Availability of Basic Health Insurance Understanding Basic Health Insurance