How Does Health Insurance Work

Reading time6 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

A question that concerns many people is "How does health insurance work?". After all, taking care of your health and being prepared in case of needing medical treatment makes a huge difference for your well-being and your family. 

Many companies offer health insurance for their employees, and even for the ones who work remotely. That's a way to show they are valued, and also help your team feel safer and motivated for being part of a company that takes care of them. 

To choose the best health insurance to offer for your employees or hire for yourself, though, it's important to understand how health insurance works, what it covers, the different types of plans, and payments. Check out the article to know more about it. 

What Is Health Insurance?

Health insurance is a service that you hire so you won't have to pay all your medical bills, for example when you go to the doctor, take vaccines, make exams, need emergency care, or have to make surgery. Instead of paying for the whole medical expenses, the health insurance is responsible to cover a part of it.

There are different types of health insurance plans, therefore, how much you will co-share the costs depends on the plan you have. To enjoy these benefits it is necessary to pay a monthly fee, which also varies according to the plan you have. 

Even if you don't need any medical assistance in a month, for example, it's still necessary to keep paying the health insurance, to count on it when you need it. It is similar to home or car insurance, you don't pay only if something happens but to make sure, if there is an accident, for example, the costs will be covered by the insurance, 

What Does Health Insurance Cover?

As part of answering the question "how does health insurance work?", it's important to comprehend what your insurance covers. This varies depending on the plan hired, but usually, it includes preventive care, emergency care, and hearing and vision care. 

Most health insurance covers: 

  • Preventive visits, like periodic child or adult check-ups;
  • Vaccinations;
  • Hospitalization;
  • Emergency room.

On the other hand, the majority of health insurance plans don't cover alternative medicine treatments, such as massages or acupuncture, cosmetic surgery, weight-loss surgery, and other types of elective surgeries. Experimental procedures may also not be covered.

How Health Insurance Payments Work

When you hire a health insurance plan, you will pay a monthly fee that is fixed. However, you may need to pay extra fees depending on the medical treatment you undergo and the type of plan you have. It's important to pay attention to that, so you won't be unprepared in those cases. 


Many health insurance plans require you to pay an amount of money the year before it starts covering your medical expenses. For example, if your health has a deductible of $2,000, you need to pay this total first, only after this, the healthcare costs will be covered by the insurance. How much of the insurance the plan will pay depends on the type of plan you have.


Copay is the fee you pay to the health insurance to use the services it covers. This fee is predetermined, so you know how much a visit to the doctor or the emergency room will cost beyond what you already pay, 


Con-insurance refers to the percentage you have to pay for the health care services you use. For instance, the health insurance covers 80% of the cost, then you are responsible to pay for the 20% left. 


To make sure that you won't have to pay beyond what you can afford there is an out-of-pocket maximum pre-determined which is the maximum amount of money you will be charged for health care services. If the expenses exceed this value with doctors and hospitals that are part of the plan's network, the health insurance will cover the rest of the cost.

Types of Health Insurance Plans

Another important element to answer the question "how does health insurance work?" is to understand that they aren't all the same. Each plan works by different systems, therefore its coverage and costs will vary. 


As the name suggests, employer-based health insurance is provided by a company to its employees. It's a benefit that many workers look for in a job, which is also used to attract and retain talented employees in an organization.

In this case, the employer hires the health insurance and may offer a plan where the company pays all the costs of the plan, or the employees may have to pay a monthly fee. They also may be required to pay the deductible or use the co-pay system. 

Individual Health Insurance

Different from employer-based health insurance, with the individual one, you purchase the plan by yourself. It's possible to hire a health insurance plan only for you or your family, but the fees will vary, it may be more expensive than the employer-based.

Health Insurance for Nomads and Remote Teams

With the development of technology, new ways of life and work have emerged. Many people adopted the digital nomad way of life, for instance, where they live traveling around the world, and take their job with them.  Several companies no longer require employees to work in their offices but have adopted the remote system

Mainly with the Covid-19 pandemic where offices were obliged to shut down for months, organizations saw that keeping remote workers is a possibility and a solution that many workers prefer. Many of them do it because they want to spend more time traveling and others to avoid losing time in the traffic or enjoying the comfort of their homes.

In all of those cases, health insurance is still a concern, employees want the safety of having a health insurance plan regardless of where they are. That's where the Safety Wing company comes in, as they have health insurance for nomads and remote teams.


The image shows Safety Wing home page

Safety Wing is a company that has the purpose of delivering the best solutions when it comes to health and travel insurance. They offer plans considering the particularities of being part of a remote team or being a digital nomad. 

Insurance for Remote Teams

The health insurance for remote teams is fully designed for your global workforce. You can hire people from anywhere in the world and add them to the same plan. The health insurance plan works globally. 

Another advantage is that you can include and remove people at any time, whether they are on a full-time salary or have a part-time contract. Your team can count on 24/7 support from day one. Safety Wing offers health insurance coverage in more than 175 countries.

Insurance for Nomads

If you live like a digital nomad, Safety Wing enables you to sign up for nomad insurance before you go abroad or when you are already traveling. You can subscribe to continuous coverage and travel to multiple countries with one policy.

Besides, after 90 days abroad, the health insurance also covers visits to your home country that last up to 30 days (15 days for US residents). You can include 2 children per adult on your insurance plan free of charge. 

The insurance for nomads includes medical coverage in case of accidents or sickness inside or outside of your home country, and travel coverage for lost luggage, travel delays, and natural disasters. 

Be Prepared for Unforeseen Situations

Now the question "how does health insurance work?" is answered, is important to highlight how having a health insurance plan can make a whole difference in someone's life. Unfortunately, we all may suffer unforeseen events like an accident or falling ill. If you have health insurance you won't be caught by surprise, and dealing with such delicate issues may be simpler. You will be taking care of yourself and your family.

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