Choosing the Right Health Insurance Provider in 4 Steps : Picking health insurance is a difficult task, especially if you’ve never done it before. Here’s your guide to choosing the right health insurance for your lifestyle, budget, and region.
Learn What Options Are Available
First, figure out what insurance providers you get to choose from. If you’re purchasing insurance on your own, use your state’s insurance marketplace to consider your options. For example, if you live in Massachusetts, use the Massachusetts health insurance marketplace to explore the different companies available to you. If your employer offers you insurance, you probably don’t have as many choices. Your premiums are likely to cost less money, though, because your employer covers some of the expense. Still, if you’re unsatisfied with your employer’s options, you’re always free to use marketplace plans.
Consider Your Needs
How often you need to see the doctor determines what kind of payment plan is best for you. Each provider varies on how much you have to pay out-of-pocket when you have a physical, see a specialist, or go to the emergency room. When providers charge low premiums, you have to pay more out-of-pocket when you go to the doctor. When providers charge high premiums, your copays tend to be lower. As a result, if you don’t have many medical issues and you only see the doctor once a year, a plan with low premiums is fine. If you have several medical conditions, require prescription medication, or are pregnant, a plan with higher premiums is better.
Explore the Different Types of Plans
There are several different kinds of health insurance plans. One is a health maintenance organization, which restricts the facilities you can visit but doesn’t cost much. Exclusive provider organizations make you stay within your provider’s network, but they don’t require referrals when you need to see a specialist. Preferred provider organizations are also common, and they give you more freedom to pick the doctors you like, but they charge more per visit. Finally, point of service plans allow you to see whichever doctors you like but require you to get referrals for specialist visits. Picking between HMOs, EPOs, PPOs, and POSPs depends on how often you need specialist care and how much you travel.
Ask What Benefits Are Included
Once you’ve picked the type of health insurance you want, it’s time to narrow down your options by thinking about what benefits you need. For this step, it’s best to call the customer service departments at each of your potential providers. Ask each provider whether they cover services such as fertility drugs or services, physical therapy, and counseling appointments. Follow up with questions about specific medications you take and other unique concerns. Finish by finding out what the sign-up process is like and how long it takes for coverage to start.
If you’re getting overwhelmed as you choose your health care provider, use these four steps to guide you. Once you’ve taken all these issues into account, you should be ready to make the right decision for your health and family.
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