Buying Health Insurance: Finding the Right Plan For You

buying health insuranceThe topic of buying health insurance is enough to make anyone cringe.  We all need it, we all want it, but how do we go about navigating through health insurance in the most affordable and effective way possible?

Health insurance plans are intimidating.  The terminology can look weird, unfamiliar, and just plain confusing.  However, health care is something you do not want to skimp on or try to avoid altogether.  No one knows when they are going to need access to emergency services, an ambulance, or prescription medication.  With that in mind, we are going to help you go over the steps you need to take for buying health insurance for yourself and in the most adorable way possible.

Health Insurance Lingo

Just reading health insurance pamphlets can get you dizzy.  Here are some of the basic terms you should know:

  • Deductible:  A deductible is how much you pay out of your own pocket before your coverage kicks in.
  • Co-pay:  Your co-pay is the fixed amount that you can expect to pay upfront for things like prescription medication or doctor visits.
  • Co-insurance:  Co-insurance is the percentage of the cost that you pay for covered expenses.
  • Monthly premium:  This is the amount that you pay a health insurer each month for their coverage.

How to Buy Adorable Health Insurance

Now, let’s get into the steps you will need to take when looking for and purchasing health insurance.

Talk with your employer:  If you have a job, it is likely that your employer will offer health insurance.  In most cases, picking up a health insurance plan under your employer is going to be the most adorable deal that you will find.  However, there are some things to look out for when doing so:

  • Check to see if the plan will cover your spouse and children as well, if you have any.
  • If you do not like your company’s plan, choose the next most affordable plan option for you through the same provider that your company uses.

Research:  Most of the process of buying health insurance has to do with doing research online or making calls to look for the best available options for you.  While you are doing your research and speaking with people, make sure to look out for red flags.  Here are some things you need to factor into your search:

  • Make sure the plan does not omit certain coverage areas you may need.
  • Consider everything you need from a plan, such as: hospital visits, surgery coverage, in-patient or out-patient care, mental health, physical therapy, and so on.  Certain plans will limit the amount of care you receive depending on their price.
  • Read the fine print (because there is always some).

Laws:  As if health insurance was not confusing enough, there are plenty of laws that you need to know in regards to health insurance.  As you are looking for the right plan for you, know the relevant laws in your state or under your individual circumstances.  Here are some to look out for:

  • If you have a health issue or problem and do not plan to be employed much longer, look for a financial planner or health insurance agent to help you with your search.  They will be able to point you in the direction of certain laws and policies that can protect you, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
  • Learn about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and how it can affect you and your children.

Go with a group plan:  Generally, a group plan will be the more affordable option for you.  If you cannot find a group insurance plan through an employer, then look into any organizations of professional groups that you are associated with, as they may offer group plans.

buying health insuranceRaise your deductible:  If you increase the amount that you pay out of your pocket, you can, in turn, lower your monthly premium.  You will especially want to look into doing this if you are a young and healthy person and do not have any looming health issues or foresee any occurring in the near future.  By raising your deductible, you can look into seeing big savings on your annual monthly premium bills.

Pick and choose:  As you are reading the fine print for the health plans you are interested in, feel free to eliminate services that some plans might offer that you feel are completely unnecessary to you.  However, this will also depend on whether or not you have a group or individual plan, as well as the type of health insurance company that you are dealing with.  If you are able to cut some parts out, then you will be able to see large cost savings at the end of each month.  Here is how:

  • Cut out certain medical services you do not think you will need.  Some plans are expensive solely based on the amount of services they offer their patients, and a lot of them may not apply to you depending on your circumstances.
  • If you are not pregnant, leave out certain benefits such as maternity care.
  • If your plan offers you the option to see a doctor beyond your network, eliminate that option as well to bring down your monthly premium.

Do not wait:  We understand that this whole shopping for and buying health care process can be exhausting.  However, do not put it off and wait until you get sick or have a health issue or emergency to actually buy health insurance.  If you buy health insurance when you are healthy, you know there is a likely chance that you will need to use it sooner than later.  Also, do not get talked into buying a temporary discounted medical card.  These options are usually inadequate and do not provide you with the effective and modern medical treatment and care you might need in an emergency.

Buy the Right Plan For You

Now it is time to take these tips and find the right type of health insurance plan for you.   No matter what you think before hand, you will find that buying health insurance can be a tedious and exhausting process.  However, find comfort in the fact that if you ever get sick or need care, you will have options available.