Health insurance shopping has never been simple. For a family of four, health insurance can cost an average of $28,000 a year. If you’re shopping for a new insurance plan, you want to make sure you’re choosing something that works not only for your health needs but also your budget.
Let’s face it, healthcare is complicated. The insurance process isn’t straightforward or easy by any means. It almost seems to be complicated on purpose to keep individuals from finding quality deals. Of course, the insurance company is in it to make money, after all. That being said, if you know what to look for, you can choose a plan that works for you.
1. Premium Cost
One of the most confusing aspects of insurance is all of the terms. They’re confusing and they also add up quickly. The premium is arguably the most important part of your plan. It’s the amount you’ll need to pay every month to keep your insurance policy activity.
If you’re self-employed, unemployed, disabled, or retired, you might be eligible for a reduction in your premium cost thanks to the Affordable Care Act. You can find lower cost premiums based on your income and more on the healthcare marketplace.
2. Deductible Cost
Next, you’ll want to take a close look at the deductible. The deductible is the amount you’ll need to spend on your healthcare services in order for your coverage to kick in. Some plans might offer some treatments for free such as an annual exam. In other cases, you’ll be expected to pay 100% of costs until you reach your deductible. You can expect to have a lower deductible if you pay more for your monthly premium and vice versa.
3. Supplemental Plans
It’s also a smart idea to consider supplemental plans. Health insurnace covers traditional medical care but not much else. If you want dental coverage, vision coverage, and other supplemental options, you’ll need an additional plan.
These plans stack on top of each other to make sure you get just what you need when you need it. It’s a great option if you want customizable care that suits your unique health needs. Click here to find out more about supplemental health insurance.
4. Doctor Network
Next, take a look at the doctor network included in the plan. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your chosen doctor will be fully covered under your health insurance plan. Insurance companies actually make agreements with healthcare providers. The health provider will accept the insurer’s terms for payments and they’ll be included within the company’s network.
Some plans offer more flexibility about what providers you can see. Others have a strict provider list. It’s important to consider whether your current health provider is covered before you commit to a plan. You don’t want to pay more to keep receiving the same service.
5. Out-of-Pocket Costs
No matter the plan you choose, there will be some out-of-pocket costs. You might have to pay for office visits once you’ve used your annual visit. You might have to pay for out-of-network doctors. Make sure you understand these costs before you choose a plan.
In addition, familiarize yourself with your out-of-pocket maximum. This is how much you’ll have to pay before your insurance begins paying for everything. While you’ll need to pay co-pays after you reach your deductible, once you reach your maximum you don’t have to continue paying for covered services. A low out-of-pocket maximum will protect you against surprise medical events.
Now that you know what to look for when considering health insurance, you can make a smart decision. Your health is the most important thing you have. Don’t risk it on a poor-quality plan that doesn’t fit your needs. Similarly, don’t pay too much for coverage you don’t need. Health insurance should work for you, not the other way around.