Whenever you are ready to get health insurance, there are definitely some things that you want to think about. Avoiding the important considerations could give you the wrong policy with the wrong terms and even the wrong price. If you want to make sure that you aren’t making shopping mistakes, use these tips as you begin.
When you are looking into purchasing your own health insurance, you should sit down and make a list of things that are important to you. You need to consider whether or not your current doctor will be in the network. When you have made a list, it will be easier to start your research, especially if you know what their customer service is like or how much of a premium you can afford.
If you find that the health insurance your employer offers is too expensive or otherwise unacceptable, one thing to check is the insurance from your spouse’s employer. You might find that coverage for two on one policy is more advantageous than each of you being covered separately. Policies vary widely, so be sure to check coverage as well as the cost.
When it comes time for re-enrollment with your health care plan, make sure to check and see what if anything has changed. Insurance companies change premiums, co-pays, and covered services on a frequent basis. Make sure you know exactly what has changed so you aren’t caught off guard.
Learn how to read your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) statements that are provided by your insurer. These statements show exactly what benefits were applied to every healthcare procedure and what you as the patient will be responsible for. This is not the bill however so don’t try to pay off of it, your insurer will send you an invoice separately.
Remember that each state regulates the private insurance companies under its own jurisdiction, so interstate commerce laws prevent private insurance from being sold to you in one state if you live in another. Knowing this, you should remember that hospitals out of state may not be covered under your insurance. Insurance companies set their own rules, so be sure to find out their policies ahead of time.
When searching for the best health insurance plan for your specific needs, consider using the services of an independent insurance broker. A good broker will understand the fine points of a wide range of insurance policies and can help with the legwork needed to shop around for the best rates. In addition, a good broker is likely to know of a much broader swath of plans and providers then you will find on your own. Just make sure any broker you consider is credentialed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Prioritize your concerns. Do you want to stick with a certain doctor or health care facility? Do you want the lowest premiums? Do you have specific health requirements that need to be addressed? Once you make a list of your priorities, you will be able to narrow down the number of health insurance companies that are suitable for your needs.
When you get married, you should add your spouse to your health insurance right away. There are some companies that will not cover your spouse without you adding them to your policy. It does not take a lot of time and you can often add them to your policy over the phone. Although, you may have to provide proof of your marriage.
You need to take money with you when you go to see a doctor because you may have to pay a co-pay. A lot of insurance companies require customers to pay a small co-pay when they visit the doctor. It is typically not more than $50, but it must be paid at the time of the visit and most doctors require it to be paid before they will even see the patient.
When shopping for health insurance, consider how important it is to you to keep your current doctors. Most plans are very specific about which doctors you can use, and the lowest cost options may not include your favorite physicians. It’s important to prioritize keeping your current doctor, versus cost of the policy, when making your decision.
An insurance broker can be an interesting option if you don’t have a large amount of time yourself. They will help to gather several options for you before you have to make a final decision. Although this will increase the initial price you pay as you must pay the fee, it can help in the long term.
In case you are interested in changing your health insurance policy, make sure to determine how many regular routine doctor visits you go to annually. Add their costs with the co-pay if they’re covered and view the amount they’d be without insurance. Ask your doctor about their visit fees if you don’t know how much they are without a policy.
If you have long-standing health issues, you are better off getting health insurance with low deductibles but higher premiums. Calculate how much you’re currently spending on your medical costs and then compare it to what you’ll pay for the insurance per year. Make sure to find out what items you’ll pay for out of pocket, if any.
It’s important to note an pre-existing medical conditions you may have when thinking about switching health insurance policies. Providers have a list of of what conditions they may not cover. Some conditions under some plans may still have a “waiting period” before coverage happens. These vary by policy. All providers have their own list of conditions. Find out from your potential plan what conditions they have listed and what the waiting period is for any you may have.
Shopping in the health insurance market is difficult, but there may be some things that you don’t yet know that could help you get the best policy offered for you. You have individual needs, so make sure they are met by using these tips to start shopping for your new health insurance policy.