Picking a health insurance plan can get complicated. We'll show you how to choose health insurance that will keep you covered when you need it most.
Over 12% of Americans currently don't have any form of health insurance.
And while it can certainly be challenging to understand the constant changes in coverage, the truth is that health insurance simply isn't something that you can afford to live without.
Though it might not seem like it at first, it's completely possible to find the best health insurance plans for you and your family's needs. You just need to know what to look for in health insurance providers and set priorities for what you need a potential plan to offer.
In this post, we'll tell you the most important things to consider when you're learning how to choose health insurance.
Read on to ensure that you don't leave any gaps in your health plan, and learn how to properly evaluate a health insurance provider.
1. Consider the Different Types of Insurance Plans
The first step in answering the question, "Which health insurance is best for me?"
Understanding the many types of health insurance.
For example, if you don't need to stay in-network for coverage, but want as many different provider options as possible, you might be interested in Preferred Provider Organization plans.
If you have to stay in-network for coverage for all non-emergency situations and want to keep out-of-pocket expenses low, you might want an Exclusive Provider Organization plan.
A Point of Service plan gives you lots of provider options but will require you to get a referral for out-of-network coverage. You'll also get a primary care doctor that will help you to order tests, connect you with specialists, and more.
Finally, perhaps a Health Maintenance plan would be a good fit for you. You'll need a referral for specialists and out-of-network care, but your out-of-pocket costs will be low. You'll also get the benefit of a primary care doctor.
You may just need to buy supplemental insurance coverage to ensure that you're covered for medications and conditions that your employer's health care plan doesn't take care of.
2. Look at the Deductibles and Premiums
Once you feel like you're happy with the type of plan, it's time to check out your premiums and deductibles.
Your premiums are what you'll have to pay for the cost of your coverage, even if you don't end up using the services. In general, you should expect to pay a premium each month, and if you don't, you may have your coverage revoked.
The average healthcare premium is around $880 a month for a family plan and $320 a month for an individual plan.
A deductible is the amount of money that you'll need to pay on your own (out of pocket) before you can start getting coverage.
For example, if you had a $2,000 deductible, you would have to spend $2,000 of your own money on things like specialist appointments and prescription medication before your insurance would pay for any of it.
3. Check the Copays and Doctors Covered
You'll also need to make certain that you're aware of the costs of copays when you're comparing insurance plans.
A copay is how much money you'll need to pay out of pocket every time you visit a doctor -- even if you've met your deductible already. This is also a good time to take a look at your out-of-pocket maximum for the year under a specific plan.
You want to know what your "worst case scenario" is when it comes to how much of your own money you would have to pay.
Additionally, now is the time to take a look at the doctors that will be covered under your plan. If you love your current doctor, then you should look for a plan that they accept at their facilities.
Remember that, if keeping your current doctor is a priority for you, look for a plan that has a bigger network of doctors to choose from.
Once you understand which of your medical providers will be covered, you'll need to take a look at the medications covered, too. If you need a medication in order to manage a pre-existing condition, then you must choose an insurance plan that covers it to avoid having to pay for it on your own.
Make a list of the medications that you take, and get to know the coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs that different health insurance plans will provide.
4. Re-Evaluate Who the Plan Needs to Cover
The last step in learning how to choose health insurance?
Making sure that you know exactly who needs coverage. We know it sounds a bit silly at first, but stop to think about whether buying individual coverage makes the most sense.
Is your child about to age out of being covered under your health insurance plan? Are you planning on adding to your family within the coming year? Will your marital status change in any way?
Though this is a basic question, it's one that can cause lots of headaches if you don't stop to consider potential changes in the number of people you'll need to cover.
How to Choose Health Insurance: Wrapping Up
We hope that this post has helped you to better understand how to choose health insurance that will give you and any loved ones you need to cover the best possible plan.
Of course, while comparing health insurance plans is essential, it's far from the only type of insurance research you'll need to conduct.
While you're studying up on the different types of health insurance, you should also research home insurance policies, life insurance, and even your car insurance. You might be surprised by how much better coverage you could be getting.
Keep checking back with our blog to learn how to pick the right coverage for everything in your life. Evaluating your insurance policies now will ensure that you never leave the people you love in trouble if something should happen to you.