Roughly 50% of the United States has employer-sponsored health insurance. Others that need coverage will have to explore the open market to find a plan that works for them.
That’s easier said than done.
A health plan carries several intricacies that can make shopping for coverage confusing. Despite the wealth of information that exists online, many are left scratching their heads wondering where to find a plan, how to weigh plans and ultimately, which one to pay for.
This post aims to clear up that confusion.
Below, we walk you through considerations to keep in mind that will empower you to find the perfect insurance plan for your unique needs.
Pick an Enrollment Medium
Before you can start weighing plans, you have to access them. This process of accessing prospective plans can be done in a handful of ways, the most popular of which is heading over to healthcare.gov.
Healthcare.gov is a government website that enables people to shop from hundreds of different health plans in a single place. These plans are featured alongside their prices, what they cover, and other key information.
If you don’t want to shop for coverage on healthcare.com, you could also explore picking up plans directly from insurer’s websites.
Get Familiar With Providers
When browsing a website like healthcare.gov, you’ll be faced with insurance plans from a multiple of providers. So, what’s the difference between a provider like Kaiser and Blue Shield? Are their quality of services the same? Does either create trouble when trying to make a claim?
The only way to answer those important questions is to dig into online reviews and literature. Conducting research on particular providers is key when considering which health plan to purchase.
Hypothesize on How Often You’ll Visit Your Doctor
One of the most costly aspects of maintaining health insurance is paying your monthly premium. As you shop for a health plan, you’ll find that a plan’s premium will be higher or lower based on how much it charges in the way of deductibles (what you need to pay upfront before your plan kicks in).
If you don’t anticipate seeing your doctor unless you run into an emergency, a low premium, high deductible plan is a good buy. If you check in with your doctor frequently or need regular help paying for accident expenses (which you can learn more about online), low deductible plans are a better bet.
Consider Your Prescription Needs
Almost 20% of the American GDP is spent on prescription medication. That could mean thousands of dollars per year out of your pocket if you don’t have the right kind of coverage.
Fortunately, several health plans will cover all necessary prescriptions so long as you keep up to date with your premium payments. Other low-cost plans, however, won’t pay for your prescription medications.
Think about how likely you’ll be to maintain a prescription medication throughout the year. Then, use your findings to decide if higher cost, higher prescription coverage plans are worth it.
Know If Your Doctor Is Covered
Do you have a particular doctor that you like working with? If you do, understanding if your doctor is in a particular insurance’s network is essential.
Insurance companies have networks of physicians they work with which they tell people to go to. These doctors typically give insurers discounts on their services.
If you go to an out-of-network doctor and use your medical insurance, you’ll pay more for treatment.
Look Into Tax Credits
By this point, you’ve likely landed on a health plan that covers what you feel your needs will be throughout the year. Now it’s time to consider cost.
For those of you that are finding that the plan you need isn’t something you can afford, you may be able to find relief through tax credits.
The US government has a program in place that helps low to middle-income individuals cover their healthcare expenses. This assistance is offered in the way of tax credits that are applied to your account at the end of the year.
You can even borrow tax credits upfront if you can’t afford to defer government assistance.
Weigh Getting Dental
When you go to check out your health insurance plan, you’ll probably be prompted to buy dental insurance. Just like healthcare.gov offers standard health plans, they’ll also offer you a handful of options for oral care.
Consider if dental insurance is the right investment for you. If it is, pick up a plan that ticks the boxes and add it to your overall insurance package.
The last part of your how to find a health plan journey will be to commit to a plan(s) that look good to you and check out. As you check out, read closely to understand when your coverage will kick in.
If you’re buying through healthcare.gov, unless you’ve been faced with a special life circumstance, your coverage will probably kick in on January 1st.
Being Armed With a Quality Health Plan Is a Necessity
Some like to think that they’ll get through a year healthy. That doesn’t always end up being the case though.
A quality health plan can help save your bank account and even your life when adversity strikes. Don’t leave your house without comprehensive coverage that you can rely on.
As we’ve mentioned, finding a quality health plan can be difficult. If you still have questions on the topic, we’ve got your covered.
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