Having a health insurance plan is one of the best financial decisions you can ever make, not only for you but also for your loved ones. It leaves you safe and relaxed just in case something happens. As long as you buy the right coverage, you will always have access to the health services you want and need. Unfortunately, without health insurance, you can only go for the services you can afford.
Now, the big question is, how do you get the right health insurance plan? How do you choose a plan that makes you feel sufficiently covered when you and your loved ones need it?
There are numerous insurance companies on the market, and they all come with similar or different offers for health coverage. It’s quite easy to get confused when looking for one that suits you best.
Here are some tips to help you choose an ideal insurance plan for you and your loved ones.
1. Check the Coverage Limits of the Insurance Plan
Before you subscribe to any health plan, you must check the amount each policy covers when it comes to your medical expenses. One thing you must avoid is the maximum lifetime benefit because it is a policy that might limit your coverage when you need it most.
Lifetime maximum benefit means there is a maximum dollar amount attached to the policy — the only amount the insurance company will meet towards your medical expenses.
The rule applies to non-essential healthcare services. While it may appear like a significant amount on paper, do not let it sway you. A fatal health condition such as cancer might surpass that limit within a very short time. The only good thing is that it doesn’t apply to essential health services. Furthermore, recent laws are forbidding the application of lifetime maximum benefit.
Focus on studying the list of diseases covered in the medical directory. And then ensuring that you have sufficient coverage from at least 80 to 90 % of those. Another thing you must consider is coverage for prescription drugs. Some medicines may cost you a fortune, so it’s important to look into this coverage when choosing a plan.
2. Determine If the Plan Comes With Any Additional Services
Some health insurance plans come with additional services, and these could be something that you really need for overall wellness.
For instance, you could need drug rehabilitation, counseling, experimental treatments, hospice, chiropractic care, or alternative treatments. If you feel like any of these is important for you and your family, go for an insurance plan whose policies cover such.
You may be surprised that some policies also cover mental illness and home nursing care. However, only choose a plan if you really feel that you will need the service at some point rather than paying too much for a service you will never need.
3. Determine If the Insurance Plan Allows You to Add Family Members
You can never imagine having to struggle trying to add a new family member after purchasing the plan. This would be a nightmare. Therefore ensure that the plan you are going for is flexible enough to accommodate your loved ones now and later on.
Also, check for the terms and conditions of scraping these dependents from your plan. Does it say that if they are 18 and above, they need to get their own cover? Does it allow dependents over 21 years old who are still studying or employed but not yet covered by their employer?
Make sure you get the maximum benefits not only for you but also for your loved ones. You may be entitled to cover them in your plan, including those with pre-existing conditions.
4. Consider the Overall Cost of Your Health Insurance Plan
The average cost you will have to pay for your insurance cover will depend on many factors. These include the specific state you are living in and the components of the plan. Choose one that you can afford to pay the monthly premiums. However, should you decide to move to a different state, remember that an extra cost may apply for the same plan.
Another aspect to consider when it comes cost is the out-of-pocket costs also referred to as your annual deductible. It is the amount you will need to pay before the insurance company chips in during your routine visits to the physician. Also, some health plans might require you to provide a copayment during all office visits. This is not considered as part of your deductible — it is the amount you pay after the deductible.
Before you subscribe to any health plan, ensure that you understand all the costs involved to avoid being inconvenienced during your routine visits or anytime you need coverage.
5. Determine If Your Plan Comes With a Lifetime Renewability
How long is your policy validated, and is it renewable? This is an essential aspect that many people tend to forget or ignore when buying a health insurance plan.
You cannot predict when you fall ill, have an accident, or generally require insurance coverage. However, one thing is for sure — you will need health insurance coverage more as you get older.
Therefore, do not overlook this need but ensure that your plan comes with the possibility of lifetime renewability. It gives you a chance to continue using your plan years later rather than buying a new policy once you cross the age limit. Renewing is much easier as compared to getting a new one.
6. Determine If the Health Plan Can Include Your Physician
Most health insurance plans come with specific doctors covered in their network. Now, the problem could be that you want your own personal doctor to be included in your health plan. In this case, ensure that they are covered by the plan you want to buy. If they are not covered, the best course of action is to look for another company or policy that will include them.
Now, your next action is to check the credentials of the doctors included in the network. Are they qualified and fit for your medical needs? Consider checking through the American Medical Association (AMA). It is a perfect source for all information regarding qualified physicians in the country.
Do not forget to check their location and availability as well to ensure that they will be there for you when you need them.
7. Ask for Help When You Need It
Insurance plans come with numerous terms and health jargon that many of us do not fully understand. Therefore, always know that it is okay to ask for help when you need it.
Do you have a friend, a relative, or a colleague who is more familiar with insurance terms? Ask them for guidance. If nobody in your circle has this information, take the time to read the documents provided to you, and research information online.
8. Do Not Be Excited About Those “Perfect Plans”
You may be perusing some websites offering too-good-to-be-true health insurance plans. Beware of brokers who want to trick you into buying a short-term plan that will be of no use to you in the future. One thing you must check for is the inclusion of the ten essential benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If they are not covered, your exciting ‘perfect plan’ is not perfect after all.
The point is, do not rush into buying an insurance plan only because it comes with low premiums or other “advantages.” Instead, dig deeper for more details to help you make an informed decision.
The Bottom Line
We all need health insurance coverage. It doesn’t matter how much money you have right now as any disease could put a serious dent to your finances. People always talk of an emergency fund to help you meet unexpected needs, and a health insurance plan is like that emergency fund you need to unexpected medical expenses. Stay relaxed, feel safe, and have easy access to the medical services you need.
However, before you buy any health insurance plan, ensure it is perfect for you and your family. You would rather take your time and use money, but at the end of the day, you know that you are heading in the right direction. This here is an ultimate guide for you when choosing a health insurance plan.