Are you happy with your healthcare, or have you seen your rates climb without any improvement in your level of coverage?
Whether you’re considering a switch or you’re looking into health insurance for the first time, the choices may seem overwhelming.
Talk to Your Primary Care Physician First
You may have found the Cadillac of health insurance plans, but your fancy healthcare won’t help you if your doctor isn’t in their network. Going out-of-network could mean more out of pocket expenses.
Before you shop for insurance, find out which providers your primary care physician accepts in order to help narrow down your choices. You can also check an insurer’s online portal before you sign up, so you can see which doctors and medical facilities are in their network.
Weigh Your Options
The majority of people get healthcare through their employer, which narrows down the selection considerably. However, if you’re self-employed, unemployed, or your employer-provided plan isn’t suitable for your situation, you may have some decisions to make.
Not only are there different types of networks, but various health insurance plans offer different tiers of coverage. A basic plan that provides fewer benefits will save money in the short term. However, you may find gaps in your service, or you may have to pay more out of pocket expenses if you have an unexpected health emergency.
Many employer-provided plans are PPOs, which allow you to choose doctors in or out of your network, but require you to pay higher premiums.
An HMO offers less flexibility in your choice of providers, and requires you to get a referral if you need to see a specialist. In this case, your out-of-pocket expenses and deductibles will usually be lower.
A third alternative is an EPO, which requires you to remain in network, but won’t force you to get referrals for treatment.
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Work Out A Health Insurance Budget
Your monthly premiums are just a small part of your medical insurance costs. To find the maximum amount that you’re likely to pay in the event of a major medical expense, determine your total premiums for the year, and then add the maximum out-of-pocket limit.
The plan with the lowest overall cost is likely to be your best bet.
You should also take into account your overall state of health and the cost of your prescriptions. If you have pre-existing conditions or you take expensive medications on a regular basis, your budget for healthcare coverage could be affected.
A Look at Deductibles
Another big decision you’ll have to make is whether you should choose a high deductible or low deductible. Many people choose a higher deductible because it lowers the monthly premium. There is some risk to this though since you’ll have to reach your deductible before your insurance starts to help you out. If you’re relatively healthy and you have no regular medical requirements, this may be a good solution.
On the flip side, a chronic illness or other recurring expenses could exceed your limit faster with a low deductible plan. If you’re concerned about covering a high deductible, a Health Savings Account can help offset the expense.
Our goal is to make the process of finding quality healthcare for you and your family as efficient and affordable as possible. When you’re ready to look for health insurance, we’re here to help.
Check out some of our other blog posts for more helpful tips and information!