Last updated on October 7th, 2015
When you are young and new to the world of insurance, it is important to know what to look for when you compare health insurance plans. There are a ton of plans and companies that want to sell you one of their policies. If you are not careful, you can end up buying something that is not affordable or comprehensive enough. With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when analyzing the right medical insurance plan for you and your family.
The premium will probably be what grabs your attention right off the bat. You cannot compare health insurance options without knowing the premium. After all, you may not have a claim, but you definitely will be paying something to the insurance company each month.
The problem with only paying attention to the premiums is that you can buy a bad product from a bad insurance company if you just look at how much a plan costs. Ever heard the saying, “you get what you paid for?” The same goes with an insurance plan.
While the premium is important, especially with the increase in the cost of medical care, there are other things that must be considered when you compare health insurance plans.
The Benefits Available
Some plans cost less on a monthly basis because they leave more for you to pay out of pocket if you were to get sick or be in an accident. If you want a plan that leaves you with less of a financial responsibility then you will have to pay more in your premium.
The main benefit provisions to look for are the deductible, coinsurance, copays, and out of pocket maximums. As you compare health insurance benefits, be sure to take into account what you are willing and able to spend if you were to have a large medical expense.
The Network of the Insurance Company
Most insurance companies have networks of doctors that they contract with to provide lower cost healthcare services. The billed charges of the services are discounted through the network, but in exchange, doctors and hospitals are able to attract more patients.
As you compare health insurance plans, make sure to choose an insurance company that has a network that your healthcare providers are a part of. Do not just think of your family doctor. Remember specialists, labs, and even pharmacies. You can find yourself having to change doctors or pay big sums of money out of pocket if your provider is not in your new insurance company’s network.
The Health Insurance Marketplaces
The health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), or Obamacare, are online locations where individuals and small businesses can quickly and easily compare health insurance plans. Do not ignore these marketplaces, as they could have good options for you.
That does not mean that the marketplace is a better choice than other insurance options. But it might be, so check it out.
Something that might make your decision easier is a tax credit. If you make less than 400% of the poverty level, you are eligible for a tax credit if you purchase medical insurance through an exchange. Check on this as it can help bring down the cost of a health insurance plan.
Compare Health Insurance Plans to Find the Best Fit
It can be time consuming, but if you want the most affordable and comprehensive plan for you and your family, make sure to take the time to compare health insurance plans in every way possible. If you look at health insurance marketplaces and take into account premiums, plan designs, and networks, you can find a great fit.