Let’s face it. Choosing and purchasing a health insurance plan is often not on the list of things we like to do. It can be boring and it can be complicated. This is why at 1800Health.com we’ve summarized the process for you to follow.
Health insurance is a product you can purchase that protects and limits you from paying the full cost of medical services. Health Insurance is available from a variety of carriers (or companies). While each state has different health insurance carriers, some carriers work in multiple states. So, what’s available for your friend or relative in Florida may not be available for you in California, or New York, or Texas, etc.
We’ve created a three-step process you can follow.
- Do some research
Okay, before your eye gloss over, we don’t mean you should go to the library for a week. What we do mean is that you should get some information. You can do this by asking your friends or relatives (who live in your home state) what they’re using. One thing to remember. Even though a health insurance company is available in your state, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be available in the county where you live. As you research, make sure the plan you’re interested in is available in your zip code.
Another way to research is to continue your search online. You’ve made it to our 1800Health.com page, you can make it to a health insurance company’s website. We’re rooting for you.
You can also call health insurance companies directly, but we urge you to be cautious with this method. Why? Well, if you call a health insurance company directly, you’re going to get the best information from them. This can be good, but remember that you want to first compare other plans before you get talked in to signing up with the first company that you call.
Use a licensed health insurance agent. These are professionals who are experienced in health insurance and can help you understand your choices fast and free. No, they’re not volunteers, they’re paid commission by the health plan you enroll in. So if someone asks you to pay a fee for their service, run the other way.
- Check to see what the plan covers
All of us have different needs for our health. Once you narrow down some plans, it’s important you choose the one that best fits you.
- What does it cover?
- What are the benefits?
- Who are the doctors you can see?
- Which are the hospitals and clinics you can visit?
- Are there any limitations?
- Is there additional coverage for things like eye exams, dental exams, chiropractors, etc.?
- Look at the costs
There are two ways you’ll be paying for your coverage: 1) monthly premium, and 2) out of pocket expenses (these are the copayments, deductibles and coinsurance payments). Most of the time, the higher you pay for your monthly premium, the lower your out- of-pocket expenses will be. And, the lower you pay for your monthly premium, the higher your out-of-pocket expenses will be.
So what exactly are these out-of-pocket expenses?
A deductible is the amount you need to pay before the insurance company starts paying its share. For example, let’s say your deductible is $1000. You first have to pay the full $1000 before the health insurance companies pays its share. Remember, deductibles are usually annual. So each year you begin fresh and have to cover the deductible for the year.
Certain types of health care services have fixed amounts that you pay. Let’s say that when you visit your primary care doctor, your copayment could be $15 (example) and when you visit your specialist, your copayment could be $25 (example).
Other types of health care services may require coinsurance. For example, let’s say you’re going to have an outpatient surgery that costs $2000 and your coinsurance is 20%. What you have to pay is $400.
Maximum out-of-pocket limits
This is the most you will have to pay per year. It includes what you pay in deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. However, it does not include your monthly premiums.