According to recent statistics, 91.5% of Americans are covered by health insurance. It’s a necessity when living in the United States, though it’s not as easy to sign up for as it should be.
You also have to constantly renew your insurance, which can get confusing, especially if something in your life changes. If you are in a position of needing health insurance but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to choose health insurance providers that will work for you, so keep reading below.
Determine the Type of Policy You Need
When choosing a health insurance policy, you must first determine the type you need. This will help decide everything else, so it’s best to start here.
There are individual policies, which are best if you need health coverage for yourself and no one else. If you have a spouse and you both need health insurance, a joint policy is the best option.
For families that have children, there are family policies that will cover you, your spouse, and all of your children. If you want just to have your children covered, you can do that as well with a child policy.
Learn About the Different Plans
Now that you know the type of policy, it’s time to learn about the various plans. While this may seem a little confusing initially, it’s pretty straightforward once you get into it.
One of the most common plan types is the Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). This type of plan requires a contract between the HMO and the member, and it provides and pays for health care services, but it requires that you use certain doctors and providers. HMO plans often offer extensive hospital and surgery coverage.
A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan offers all the benefits of an HMO plan, such as having extensive coverage and access to x-rays and prescription medicine. With a PPO plan, you are covered as long as you see providers that are in-network, which gives you a bit more freedom and flexibility.
The Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan is quite similar to a PPO plan, but it gives you access to more providers. An EPO plan is, as the name suggests, more exclusive, so you could see specialists that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Those with an EPO plan often get discounts and have lower premiums but higher deductibles.
Consider Your Premium
Now that you know the type of policy and plan you desire, it’s time to look into the other big factors, and your insurance premium is one of the biggest. This is the time for comparing insurance costs, but to do so, you need to know every element involved.
Your insurance premium is the price you pay to have coverage. You can pay it annually or in monthly installments.
Your premium will vary based on your type of policy and plan. Individual policies will have lower premiums than family policies, for instance.
Your premium can also vary depending on your age and location. Younger people tend to have lower premiums than older people. If you live in Minnesota, you probably have a lower premium than if you live in New York.
You want to be able to afford your premium while still having the coverage you desire, which may take some compromising.
Choose Your Deductible
Your deductible is the next piece of this equation and matters just as much as your premium. This is the amount you will have to pay before your insurance starts paying.
So, for example, if your individual deductible is $1,500, you’ll have to pay that much before your insurance will pay anything. This is why having a lower deductible is desired, though if you barely ever use your insurance, it may not be as necessary.
If you have a family plan, you’ll have a family deductible, which your entire family would need to meet before your insurance would kick in.
Reduce Your Out-of-Pocket Maximum
In certain instances, you may still need to pay even when you reach your deductible. That is why health insurance providers often have a separate out-of-pocket maximum and why you should always read insurance terms and conditions.
Once you reach this amount, no matter what else happens, your insurance provider will cover the rest of the medical bill. That is, of course, if you stay within your network of providers.
The lower your out-of-pocket maximum is, the less you will be responsible for your medical bills.
Research Prescription Drug Coverage
Whether you require prescription drugs right now or not, it is essential to confirm if your insurance provider will cover them.
Not all policies will make prescription drugs affordable, so if you or a family member requires a specific prescription, make sure it’s covered.
Many companies will only cover generic drugs but no brand names. Some specialty drugs may not be included.
Reading online reviews can give you a good idea as to what a specific company most often covers or does not cover, so you know what to expect.
Determine Your Medical Use
When comparing your options for insurance providers, it’s helpful to determine how much you will use it. Of course, accidents can’t be planned, and you don’t know what the future holds for your health, but you can make an estimation.
If you are younger and in generally good health, you may need less coverage and can afford to have a higher deductible or out-of-pocket maximum, which can help lower your premium.
Do you need vision insurance? Do you have chronic pain? These factors can add up.
Someone who is immunocompromised may need more coverage, and you’ll also need to add more coverage as you get older. Estimate how much coverage you require to the best of your ability, and you could end up saving some money.
Learn How to Choose Health Insurance Providers With This Helpful Guide
If you want to choose health insurance providers that will work best for you, this guide can help you get there.
There’s a lot to learn about health insurance, but it really comes down to getting you the coverage you need while lowering your premium, deductible, and out-of-pocket maximum.
It’s time to take a break from thinking about health insurance, so browse our website for some entertaining lifestyle articles!