As discussed in a previous blog, workers’ compensation and no-fault insurance are both specific types of coverage that only apply in certain scenarios. Private insurance, on the other hand, is the most common type of insurance and can apply to virtually any situation. These plans are purchased either directly through the patient or through an employer.

Private insurance comes in five unique types, each of which is defined below:

Employer-sponsored plans are purchased by the employer and then made available to employees, who can usually select from a few different levels of coverage. The employee stills pays a monthly fee, but the employee typically covers at least a portion. It is worth noting that even when the employer is responsible for the insurance, they cannot see their employees’ private health information.

Medicare comes in four varieties (Parts A, B, C, and D) and is for those aged 65 and older. It is also available for select younger people who have disabilities or ESRD. Though Medicare is federally funded, parts A, B, and D still require patients to shoulder a portion of the cost. The other option is Part C or Medicare Advantage, in which a Medicare-eligible person signs up through a different private insurance company.

Medicaid is another federal policy for those in “financially underserved” conditions. The exact qualifications differ by state, and those eligible also have the option to select outside plans for other companies. In most cases, Medicaid requires no fees.

Health insurance exchanges, created by the Affordable Care Act, allow individuals to select from a variety of private insurance providers; in other words, it is the same as allowing people to pick whichever insurance provider they want. Policies come in three tiers (gold, silver, and bronze) in which gold has the highest premiums and lowest cost sharing while bronze has the lowest premiums and highest cost sharing.

Military insurance is available for U.S. military members and their families and comes in four types. TRICARE covers active and former military and their families. TRICARE For Life helps older active and former military and their families cover the cost of Medicare plans. The Veterans Choice Program, provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs, covers veteran service members. Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veteran Affairs helps the veteran families who are not eligible for TRICARE because the military member is deceased or disabled.