Health insurance can be confusing, and knowing which one to choose can be even more so.
From understanding the importance of your deductible to figuring out whether you should go with an HMO or PPO plan, there are plenty of things to consider when choosing health insurance.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of health insurance and how they can help you stay protected in case of emergencies and long-term illness.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed with all of your options when it comes to health insurance.
It’s important not to make any quick decisions about your healthcare coverage, as often times plans expire or change within just a few years.
In fact, you could end up spending more on premiums than you originally intended if you don’t shop around for new plans every few years.
The cost of prescription drugs can also change, so comparing prices at each renewal is also something worth keeping in mind.
Reviewing your needs and options annually will help ensure that you find a plan that fits both your needs and budget.
Check all your Options
Before you start shopping around for health insurance, it’s a good idea to get familiar with your options.
Not all health insurance plans are created equal—do some research and make sure you know exactly what type of plan is best for you and your family.
For example, does your employer offer a self-funded program or do they use an outside administrator? Depending on how much control you have over making decisions about your health care, certain types of insurance may be more important than others.
Also consider whether or not dental coverage is worth it for you and whether or not vision insurance would benefit your family.
Knowing which elements are vital will help narrow down what type of plan fits into your budget.
Understand Deductibles, Coinsurance, Out-of-Pocket Maximums, and Exclusions
Deductibles, coinsurance, out-of-pocket maximums, and exclusions are all common types of cost-sharing.
And while it’s important to understand how they affect your finances in the event of a medical emergency, there’s not much difference between them—so you can probably just pay attention when you buy health insurance.
Of these four terms, a deductible is likely going to be by far your biggest financial concern if you do get sick; it’s what gets paid before any insurance kicks in at all.
Buy a Gold Plan if you are Over 50
If you’re over 50, you may be able to benefit from a gold plan. These plans typically have lower deductibles and copays and are geared toward people who may require more health care services.
Gold plans typically cost more but can still be well worth it if your annual medical costs exceed $10,000 or so. In that case, a gold plan could end up costing hundreds less than a standard silver plan with higher out-of-pocket costs.
Check out the Exchange website for other options
If you’re unhappy with your current health insurance plan, or your employer-provided plan doesn’t fit your needs, you may want to consider shopping around on an exchange.
This is a marketplace that lets consumers choose from different health plans and compare features like premium costs, deductibles and copays.
Not all plans are available in every state; you can find out if yours is at Healthcare.gov.
Do Not Wait Until Open Enrollment Period Ends
Open enrollment is a great time to get affordable health insurance, but it’s not your only option.
Many employer-based plans have open enrollment throughout most of the year, so you could qualify for one even if you’re currently enrolled in a different plan.
It can be tricky, though, to figure out whether an insurance company will cover what you need when your employer doesn’t provide health benefits.
If you can afford it and want more freedom, switching from an employer-based plan to a private plan may give you access to more benefits and services than what your current plan offers.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, known more commonly as Obamacare, significantly changed how Americans get health insurance.
With over 20 million people signed up for healthcare so far and many more enrolling each day, it’s important to understand what Obamacare means for you and your family.
Check out our guide below for everything you need to know about your new options—from ObamaCare, private insurance plans and temporary coverage.
You can also see if you qualify for an exemption from PPACA through Healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).
In addition, enrollments are now open on a state level through Covered California!
Final Tips to Choose the Right Policy
If you’re looking for individual health insurance, it’s important to understand a few things before purchasing a policy.
Generally, your choice of plan will come down to either a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) or an HMO. HDHPs are geared toward consumers who want higher cost-sharing levels but lower premiums.
These plans also typically have lower premiums than traditional health insurance and come with deductibles that can range from $1,000-$6,350 per year, with individuals paying more out of pocket for services like doctor visits and prescription drugs until they meet their deductible.
how to find out what health insurance i have
Before you can determine which health insurance is best for you, it’s crucial that you understand what exactly health insurance covers.
According to WebMD, individual health plans are broken down into three main categories: preferred provider organizations (PPOs), point-of-service (POS) plans and high deductible health plans (HDHPs).
The type of plan you choose depends on how much money you want to spend up front and how willing you are to let your insurance company negotiate prices with doctors and hospitals.
According to Cigna, PPOs provide more out-of-pocket expenses for customers but often allow customers choice of medical providers.
POS plans offer lower premiums than PPOs but usually require preauthorization for certain types of care or procedures.
how to choose health insurance plan from employer
The first step is determining if your employer offers health insurance.
If they do, ask your human resources department how you should sign up for it.
Most companies require employees to register online or fill out a form that’s mailed out.
Once you’ve registered, there will be an open enrollment period during which you can start coverage.
This may be several months after your hire date; but check with HR to make sure.
Your insurer may have their own portal through which you can enroll in plans, and some plans might not be available via an employer portal at all.
For example, state exchanges offer comprehensive medical and dental options for people who don’t get coverage from employers; these are generally cheaper than options offered by employers, because insurers aren’t paying administrative costs as high as those charged by larger organizations.
As soon as possible after registering with HR (typically within thirty days), pick a plan.
This isn’t something that needs weeks of research—if possible go in with a set idea about what you want beforehand so that once you’re in the system it’ll take just minutes to confirm and select what you want.