Last updated on August 12th, 2013
When you are looking for a medical insurance plan for the first time, something that will be top of mind is how to find the best health insurance available. There are so many companies and benefits available, how do you know which are good and which are bad. Fortunately, there are several ways to go about finding the right plan for you. Some methods have been around for a long time, while some are new to the insurance market.
Visit Insurance Company Websites
The first place many people look when trying to find the best health insurance are the websites of the various insurance companies that offer individual plans. On the websites, you can fill out an application and look for medical plans with benefit designs that fit your needs. Once you do this on the websites of several companies you can compare the benefits and premiums that are available to you.
The downside of looking for health insurance this way is that it can be complicated to do your own comparison, especially if you are new to the world of insurance. By the time you combine all the plans from different companies, you are going to have a whole lot of plans to look at.
However, by doing your own research to find the best health insurance you will have the full scope of options available to you.
Visit Your State’s Health Insurance Exchange
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare as many people know it, created insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, run by each state, where people can go online and easily compare plans and premiums available to them. If questions arise, there are customer service associates, called navigators, ready to assist.
If the exchanges are running efficiently, they can be a terrific way to find the best health insurance available to you. The process is simple and more user friendly since everything is at a one stop shop.
Insurance companies are not required to participate in the exchanges. In addition, if they participate, they are not required to participate in every state. So if you look for medical insurance on the exchanges, your options of insurance companies will be more limited than if you did the work on your own.
If your state does not have an online marketplace, you can use the federal exchange.
Consult a Health Insurance Broker
A health insurance broker can bring a lot of value to your search for the best health insurance around. Brokers know the local insurance market and can do all the legwork for you. They can help you assess your needs, both financially and medically, and suggest plans that best fit your lifestyle and budget.
Brokers will do the plan comparison, but are much more efficient than an insurance beginner. The commission a broker receives is built into the premium, so there is no direct payment from you.
Check Your Employer’s Health Insurance Plan
If your employer has a health insurance plan, then the best health insurance might be under your nose. PPACA sets limits on the out of pocket expenses that a group plan can have, and since most employers subsidize the insurance premium, you can usually find your best options at work.