Health insurance is a tricky thing. You need it to keep you safe, but there are so many factors to consider. Different plans have different coverage, different premiums and deductible amounts, and even different provider networks. Even once you get past those things, you still need to think about the cost of your premiums and whether they’re going to remain affordable in the future, as well as what kind of plan you want for your family right now. Each person has different needs when it comes to their health insurance. Some people have preexisting conditions that require special coverage, while others might not be able to afford something like an HSA until they reach a higher income bracket. Everyone has their own circumstances that affect the kind of coverage they need right now and how much they can spend on it. Luckily, there are some universal best practices when it comes to picking a plan that fits your lifestyle as well as your budget:
Ask your provider which plans they recommend.
When you’re first shopping around, one of the first places to look is with your current provider. They know your situation and what you need. Plus, they’re your current provider, which means they’ve taken a look at your medical history and will know what coverage you need to stay healthy and safe. Keep in mind that just because they’re your current provider doesn’t mean that they’re your only option. Some providers specialize in specific niche markets, and you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere.
Be aware of the provider network before you sign up.
Health insurance providers often claim to offer “unlimited” care. However, the reality is that most plans come with a network of providers, and there are some places where you can’t access that care. If there are a few specific doctors you want to see, make sure the plan you pick includes those providers. It’s also important to know whether or not your prescriptions will be covered by your plan. Depending on your situation, you may be able to get a plan that covers everything you need. However, if you have a low income and/or a preexisting condition, you may need to look into a high-risk plan that only covers a select few providers.
Check your credit score before you apply for any loan.
Insurance companies often look at your credit score when determining whether or not they want to offer you coverage, which means they’ll see your score, too. If you have poor credit, some providers may automatically rule you out. You may still be able to get a plan, but you’ll likely have to pay a higher premium. You can get your free credit report from any one of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) once per year. Check it for accuracy, and check for mistakes that could be affecting your score.
Don’t be afraid to walk away if a deal seems too good to be true.
Health insurance providers are in the business of making money — just like every other business out there. They want to make sure that they’re getting a return on their investment, which means they’re going to charge you as much as they can get away with. If you’ve been shopping around and you find a deal that sounds too good to be true, there’s a good chance that it is. Make sure it’s a reputable provider and that you can afford the plan. Some providers will offer you an incredibly low rate (like $20 a month for a plan that normally costs $300), but that’s likely because there’s a catch you don’t know about yet.
Don’t forget about life insurance!
Health insurance is important and necessary, but it only covers you in the event that something goes wrong and you need medical attention. It doesn’t help your family if you die without a life plan in place. When shopping around for life insurance, make sure you look for a plan that covers your spouse and your children if you have any. That way, your family won’t be left with nothing if you pass away. In Conclusion Choosing the right health insurance is a big decision that requires a lot of research. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools out there to help make that research a lot easier. It’s also important to keep in mind that health insurance is an ever-changing field, so you’ll want to stay on top of the latest trends and news so you can make sure you’re always picking the best plan for you.