How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan
If your workplace doesn’t provide health insurance, or you’re wanting to look at alternative plans, there are some important things to consider. Finding the right health insurance plan can be incredibly complicated if you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for. It’s important to do your research so you can find the best solution to fit your needs.
Do you already have a favorite doctor or medical team in your area? Some insurance plans do not offer coverage in all areas, eliminating some provider names from consideration. Look through the plans and check whether you can continue to see the same doctor or other local doctors on your list. Also check to see how far the closest provider is within your coverage area, as some health insurance plans only offer service providers in cities that are hours away.
If you have existing prescriptions, be sure to take their cost into account. Many health care plans divide prescriptions into cost tiers, so switching to a new plan could change what you pay at the pharmacy. Think about the prescriptions you currently take, and may continue to take long-term, and assess how that may affect your budget.
Any number of factors can affect how often you go to the doctor. Are you generally in good health and only go to the doctor for routine checkups? Do you have a chronic illness that needs consistent appointments or treatments? Though it’s not always foreseeable, the number of times you may need to see a provider throughout the year may play a role in choosing the best plan.
Do you have a surgery planned in the near future? If you already know it may be a few years down the road, you will want to take that into consideration. Do you plan on having children? Be sure to look at what maternity services are covered in your plan options.
Of course, one of the major concerns when choosing the plan that’s right for you and your family is cost. How much will you be paying in premiums each month? How often you expect to go to the doctor may influence this assessment. Typically, more coverage will mean a higher monthly premium, but with that higher coverage generally you’ll have less out-of-pocket expense during a visit.
A lower premium may mean a higher out-of-pocket cost during the visit. Be sure to carefully review deductible, co-pay and premium numbers when making a decision.