Health insurance is often crucial, especially if you have recurring or serious health issues. Without health insurance, you need to pay for all medical care out of pocket, which can get expensive very quickly, even for minor issues. With the overwhelming amount of insurance companies today, it’s not always easy to find a good health insurance plan to purchase. You’re going to want to look at different factors before choosing any policy to ensure it has everything you need and will be within your budget. Use the following tips to make it easier to choose the right policy.
1. Figure Out What You Need
The first thing to do is to figure out what the health insurance policy needs to have. While it can be hard to predict the need for many medical emergencies, you can make sure any policy you choose is going to provide coverage for existing or likely medical care, like maternity coverage. If you may become pregnant in the next year, having maternity coverage will be crucial. If you aren’t going to become pregnant in the next year, you can choose a policy that doesn’t include this. You can check out info about Flexcare to see what they cover and make sure it fits your needs.
2. Check Share of Costs
Even with a very good health insurance policy, you’ll end up paying some money out of pocket to meet deductibles and cover copays. Depending on the health insurance policy you purchase, these costs can vary quite a bit and can lead to you paying more out of pocket than you might have expected. Check to see exactly what you’re going to be required to pay for different situations so you can better predict medical costs through the next year. Even though you can’t predict emergencies, understanding the deductibles and copays makes it easier to plan for routine expenses.
3. Check Coverage Limits
Most health insurance plans will have limits on services they do not believe are essential, so it’s important to see if any coverage limits might be applicable in your situation. The insurance company can no longer have an overall coverage limit but check for limits on individual services to be sure those limits won’t impact you. This will vary by insurance policies, so ask about any coverage limits before deciding on the policy as you won’t want to be surprised with higher-than-expenses later on in the year.
4. Compare the Health Plan Networks
If you already have a doctor you like, you’ll want to make sure they will be considered an in-network doctor. In-network doctors are those who are covered by the insurance company. Doctors that are not considered in-network might be more expensive to work with as it’s possible the insurance company won’t cover the visit. If you don’t have a doctor yet, check who is considered in-network to make sure you can find a doctor that’s near your home or work. This enables you to make sure it’s easy to find a doctor that’s going to be convenient for you. Look for plans that have more options so you can find a doctor you like working with.
5. Check Specialists, You Already Use
Specialists may need referrals to be covered by insurance, but if they aren’t in the network, the insurance company may still not cover their services. If you already see a specialist, make sure they will be covered by the new insurance policy. Check any specialists you already see and make sure the insurance company does cover some specialists in the area just in case you do need to see a specialist in the future.
6. See If There’s a Waiting Period
Some health insurance policies may have waiting periods before they will go into effect, especially with pre-existing conditions. These will vary by policy and can be as little as a week or as long as a few months. If you have any pre-existing conditions, make sure you understand what the waiting period is and how that will impact the care you’re receiving right now before you select the policy. You don’t want to be required to pay for visits out of pocket because they occurred before the waiting period was over.
7. Look at Medications Covered
Even if all medical care is covered, purchasing prescription medications can quickly get expensive. If you take medications regularly, check the copay amount for each one to predict how much you’ll need to pay each month. If your medication isn’t on the list, you may be required to pay the full price for it. There are coupons available for many medications that can help reduce the cost, but if it’s something you take daily, you’re going to want to make sure it’s covered by your health insurance, so you pay as little as possible every time you refill the prescription.
8. Get Answers to Your Questions
You’ll likely have questions while comparing different health insurance policies. Call each company that’s under consideration and get answers to these questions before deciding. Plan to spend time talking with each one so you can ask all of your questions. Have the questions written down beforehand and take notes as you speak with each insurance company, so you remember which company said what. This way, you have the information you need before you select a plan and so there are no surprises when you do pick a plan.
Choosing a health insurance plan is going to take some time as there’s a lot to consider. You will want to make sure you consider various parts of the insurance plan so you can make sure there will be no surprises throughout the next year. Follow the tips here, and you should be able to find a policy that’s going to have everything you need without being too expensive. Once you have the right plan, you can get all of the medical care you might need without having to worry as much about how much you’re going to spend.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.