Approximately 15.5 percent of the population in the United States does not have health insurance. Are you part of this group?
If so, why? Are you convinced that health insurance is too expensive? Do you think that it’s too complicated?
It’s true that health insurance can be complicated. In fact, only about four percent of Americans have a thorough knowledge of health care policies and terminology.
A lack of in-depth knowledge shouldn’t stop you from seeking out health insurance, though. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to shopping for health insurance, keep reading.
Here are some tips that will help you understand the world of health insurance and find the best health insurance policy for your needs.
Benefits of Health Insurance
Ever since the individual mandate was repealed a few years ago, a lot of people have decided that health insurance isn’t really important.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. There are a lot of reasons why you need to have health insurance, even if you’re a young and healthy individual, including the following:
- Cover the cost of unexpected illnesses or injuries like broken bones or sudden infections.
- Utilize preventative care (it’s usually fully covered by insurance) instead of relying on emergency room visits
- Treat conditions as soon as they arise instead of waiting until they escalate and require more intense treatment
- When more people are insured, the health of society as a whole improves
- The more people have health insurance, the better (and more affordable) rates and premiums are for everyone
Clearly, there are a lot of reasons to make getting health insurance a priority.
Finding the Best Health Insurance
Okay, you’re convinced that you ought to have health insurance. How do you sort through all the different plans and find out more about one that will work best for you?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to find the best health insurance plan. Start by making sure you’re considering the following factors:
Type of Insurance
One of the first things you need to considering when shopping for health insurance is the fact that there are different types of insurance policies from which you can choose.
Here is a basic outline of the most common types of plans:
- Health Maintenance Organization: Also known as an HMO, this plan requires you to choose from a network of health care providers; you also need a referral from a primary care physician to see a specialist.
- Preferred Provider Organization: Also known as a PPO, this plan gives you more freedom to choose your health care providers and you do not need a referral to see a specialist.
- Exclusive Provider Organization: This is similar to a PPO, but you do not get any coverage if you see a care provider who is not a part of your network.
- Point of Service Plan: This plan blends a PPO plan and an HMO plan; it provides you with more freedom to choose your health care provider, but you still have a primary care physician who coordinates your care and handles referrals.
- Catastrophic Plan: This type of plan is available to individuals under the age of 30; it has lower premiums and offers free preventative care, although you must see your primary care physician three times before the deductible will apply.
- High-Deductible Health Plan: This is similar to a catastrophic plan but is available to people of all ages; it’s part of various plans (HMO, PPO, EPO, POS) and has higher out-of-pocket costs.
There are a lot of different plans out there. If you’re not sure which one to choose, you’ll need to compare other variables to help you make your decision.
The premium is the total cost of a health insurance plan. You’ll pay this amount every month of every quarter regardless of whether or not you see the doctor.
Some types of plans have higher premiums than others.
If you have a PPO or HMO plan, your premiums will be higher than if you have a catastrophic plan or high-deductible health plan. If you want to save money on health insurance, one of these plans will be a better fit for you.
The deductible is the amount of money you must pay before your insurance will start to cover the cost of your health care.
If you want a lower deductible, generally speaking, you will need to pay for a plan that has a higher premium. If you want lower premiums, you will have to choose a high-deductible plan.
In addition to considering the cost of the deductible for a particular plan, you’ll need to do a little more digging.
Check to see if it is a single combined deductible for all of your medical and pharmacy services or if there is a separate deductible for prescriptions that you have to meet before your medications will be covered.
All insurance plans offer some form of prescription drug coverage. But, you still need to check to make sure the specific medications you need (if any) are covered by a particular plan before you purchase it.
If you need a medication that’s not covered, you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to get it covered.
Finally, when you’re considering different plans, you’ll have to look at the copay and/ coinsurance each plan requires.
A copay is a flat fee that you pay whenever you receive care. Coinsurance requires you to pay a percentage of the total cost of your care.
Many people forget to factor copays and coinsurance into the equation. It’s an important thing to consider, though. After all, you don’t want to end up doing a “dine and dash” at the dentist’s office like Andy and April.
Want to Learn More?
Now that you know how to find the best health insurance, it’s time to go out and start comparing plans.
Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have no trouble finding a plan that meets your coverage needs and doesn’t break the bank.
Do you want to learn more about other important types of insurance?
Whether you’re curious about auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or another type of policy, we’ve got some important information for you.
Check out this article to learn about the insurance policies everyone ought to have.