How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan

What To Consider When Choosing A Health Insurance Policy

With rising health care insurance, it sometimes seems hopeless finding a decent provider. So many people have horror stories, or at least complaints about how high their premiums are. There is virtually an endless number of options, that eventually it becomes dizzying.

The fact is, though, with so many options out there, you can find the right insurance policy for you. Research is absolutely worth the time. Once you know how to look and what you need to look for, the process isn’t nearly so daunting. Make a list of what you want and then find a plan which conforms to it.

Options, Options, Options

Use the Yellow Pages.

Call around town to various agents. Take notes and compare the policies each one offers. Make certain to list premiums, fees, co-pays, freedom of choice and prescription benefits. There may be tough decisions ahead, but one of the plans will eventually stand out from the others.

Check out all your options.

Fraternal social organizations and alumni associations often special coverage plans for their members. Don’t let an opportunity pass you by due to lack of diligence.

Do some comparison shopping.

Don’t limit your options just because you don’t think you have any way of comparing them. There are websites which do this for you, such as nahu.com. NAHU stands for the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Get a second, third and fourth opinion.

Ask friends and family about your health options. Most will have stories and anecdotes about their own health plans. A few will have good reports. Consider looking into those with good health care options, though remember that peoples’ experiences are all different. Those with few health problems may like their provider simply because they haven’t had to use it much.

Maximum Coverage Limits

How To Choose A Health Insurance PlanLook at the maximum coverage limit on any policy you purchase. The limits need to be high enough to cover any problem you have. A million dollars is a good bench mark.

Waiting Periods

Make certain you know how long you have to wait before you are fully covered. Some plans require you to wait a certain period of time. Before you sign on the dotted line, check with the doctor whom you will be visiting. Ask their office how long you must wait before the typical appointment. Long delays are simply unacceptable.

Prescription Drugs

If you are taking prescribed medicine, make certain to compare the prescription drug benefits with each plan. Find the drug you need on their co-pay list and compare prices.

COBRA

Use the COBRA laws if they apply to you. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act. It was passed in 1985 to help families in a transition period. COBRA states that those who have quit or been fired from their job can maintain their former employer’s health insurance plan for up to 18 months after leaving the job. The person must pay the full costs, but these costs should be lowered because of the group rates involved.

PPO

If you choose the preferred provider option, you need to have a doctor in mind who is suited to your needs.

This doctor should have skills in any condition you might have already. Otherwise, you may not get the treatment you need from a PPO.

Avoid the fee-for-service plan if you believe you will be visiting the doctor often.

People with children or chronic health problems should avoid this option entirely.

It is cheaper up front, but will eat you up in eats later on. You don’t want to make choices on whether to visit a doctor according to what kind of fee you have to pay.

At the same time, fee-for-service allows you the greatest freedom is selecting a doctor.

The great price buys you greater freedom, which is a tradeoff decision you have to make.

POS

If you choose a Point of Service plan, make sure to find a doctor whose opinion you personally trust. This doctor will decide which specialist you use. So you are trusting your health in an emergency to this doctor’s judgment.

HMO

Choose an HMO if you want lower premiums. This requires you to select doctors from that provider’s Health Maintenance Organization. This limits your options, though it does save you premium money.

Listen to the Customers

There are message boards and forums where customers of plans give feedback about their experiences. Once you find a plan which sounds promising, do a little research about the potential provider. Go on a forum and ask what others think about this provider. You quickly will learn if the plan or provider has a bad reputation. This kind of feedback is invaluable.

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