Shopping for the best healthcare plan can be a daunting task. Trust me, I know. There are just too many health insurance plans and vague terms floating around the web.
Capital IQ identifies around 16,000 health insurance companies in the United States alone. How do you know which one is best for you? There are four main things to do when shopping for a healthcare plan suitable for your needs:
Types Of Insurance Coverage
Compare various types of health insurance plans until you find one that is just right. There are a number of types of health insurance plans. The most common ones are:
- *Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
- *Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)
- *Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
- *Point of Service Plan (PSO)
These plans differ according to the benefits. For example, HMOs are best for those who want affordable out-of-pocket costs and a primary physician who coordinates your personalized care. They can do so by collaborating with your existing specialists and ordering medical tests. However, HMOs require referrals for procedures and specialists, which can be a potential setback.
PPOs offer more provider options and do not require referrals, so this is suitable for those who want as much freedom as possible. Each of the types of healthcare plans has differences that make them appropriate for various people with individual needs. When you have chosen the type of health insurance plan you want, you can then choose from which insurance company to buy.
Compare Specific Benefits and Coverage
When you have narrowed down your search to the type of plan and the insurance companies to choose from, it is time to really get into the nitty-gritty of health insurance plans. This involves carefully studying the benefits and coverage of each plan. What are the benefits for accidents and death? What would you do when you are admitted to a hospital? Are prescription medications covered? Are there benefits for pregnant women? Consider the benefits and coverage of the plans from all angles. Really take the time to study these benefits since you may not be able to add or change these later.
Pay Attention to Out-Of-Pocket Costs
All health insurance plans have monthly fees or premiums. Generally, the higher the premiums are, the lower the out-of-pocket costs, and vice versa. Higher premiums are fit for those who are going to frequently have medical consultations and tests or are expecting any major surgeries. On the other hand, plans with lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs are more appropriate for generally healthy people who do not often require medical attention. Overseeing out-of-pocket costs of insurance plans leads to unnecessary spending, and we certainly do not want that.
Check out the Quality of Health Care by Doctors and Hospitals
If the plan that you are considering to buy has a list of certified physicians and hospitals, you need to check out these providers’ reputation. The first thing you can do is to check your government’s health website and look for ratings or lists of competent hospitals and healthcare providers. You can also check out their websites or review sites for patients’ comments on their services and quality of care.
Consulting a Professional
Once you’ve completed these four steps, you will have a better understanding in choosing the best health insurance plan for you and your family. Since this is a major investment, do not rush the process. Consult as many resource materials or benefits consultants as you need. The efforts you put into researching and understanding health insurance plans will certainly pay off.