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What types of health-related insurance should I avoid buying?

When buying health insurance, it's important to remember that you want to purchase the broadest coverage possible. A good, broad policy will cover just about every medical problem you encounter, regardless of how you get it or where. As a result, you can usually avoid "narrow" insurance policies that will pay only under unusual circumstances. According to Net Worth: Creating and Maximizing Wealth with the Internet (Jamsa Press, Las Vegas), here are some health-related policies you can probably live without:

  1. One-disease insurance. Once you have broad coverage for every major health risk, any other coverage for a specific disease is redundant and a waste of money.

  2. Accident insurance. These policies pay specific medical expenses resulting from an accident, rather than expenses resulting from illness. Again, this is redundant coverage because a standard health policy should cover health expenses resulting from either accidents or illnesses.

  3. Health policies pitched by celebrities on TV, with premiums that appear to be unusually low. These policies usually have extremely long waiting periods before they cover any pre-existing conditions -- far longer than the waiting periods required by underwriters who don't have to pay for expensive advertisements and celebrity endorsements.

  4. Policies sold through unsolicited mail that offer spectacularly low rates. Many of these policies also have unusually long waiting periods for pre-existing conditions.

  5. Student health insurance. Chances are, your student is already covered under your family health policy until he or she is 18, or for as long as the student stays in school. Check your policy and call your agent.

  6. Most indemnity policies. They pay you a flat rate, sometimes a mere $50, for every day you spend in the hospital. That's not very helpful, considering that the average daily rate at many hospitals now tops $500.