How to Evaluate Health Insurance Plans
by Mashum Mollah Health Care Services 22 June 2017
If you’re shopping for health insurance plans, it’s important to carefully consider your options. You can easily find affordable health insurance quotes online, but the cost of your monthly premiums should not be your only consideration. You also need to examine the plan’s deductibles, co-insurance costs, networks, and other essential factors.
Here’s a simple guide on how to find the right health plan for your needs.
Decide on what’s important to you
You need to make a list of the things that you consider “essential” in a health plan. For example, if you want to continue seeing the same doctor, or go to the same hospital, write down these details. Then check the plan’s network to see if your doctor or preferred hospital is on their network. Failing to do this can turn out to be very costly for you in the long run. That’s because if your medical provider is not part of the insurer’s network, you may have to pay for each doctor’s visit out of your own pocket.
Check all possible out-of-pocket expenses
A cheap premium may seem like a good thing, initially, but if the plan has a high deductible, you could end up paying thousands of dollars on your medical bills. That’s because you’ll need to meet your plan’s deductible first before your coverage will kick in.
Ask yourself the following questions before you decide on a health plan:
- Do you want to keep your current medical providers?
- How high of a deductible can you comfortably afford?
- What are your current health care needs?
- Do you qualify for financial assistance that could lower your monthly premium?
Explore hospitals and doctors in the plan’s network
It’s also a good idea to examine the insurance provider’s network. You can easily get this information on their website. But we also recommend that you call their customer service hotline to confirm the data posted on their website.
The point here is that you want a good health plan that can ensure you will get excellent medical care, should you need one.
Consider prescription drugs
Every health insurance plan has a drug formulary, and this is something you need to check, especially if you’re currently taking any medications. You want to make sure that the plan’s formulary covers your medication. You will most likely see both preferred and less preferred drug categories. The preferred ones are generic and less expensive drugs, while the less preferred drugs are those that are either new or expensive and often, choosing the latter to come with higher out-of-pocket costs.
Shop around for options
Automatically renewing your current plan may be the most convenient thing to do, but it’s not exactly your smartest move. You could save a lot of money by shopping around and comparing various plans, instead of just renewing. You owe it to yourself to shop around even if you have to take a lot of time to compare all your options.
Having the right health plan will not only ensure you get the best care when you need it, but it could also guarantee that you won’t suffer financially should a medical crisis arise. We’ve all heard stories of how people lost all their money due to the sky-high medical bills they had to pay. By carefully evaluating your options, you can ascertain that you will be protected financially when you get seriously ill.