7 Things To Keep In Mind While Looking For Health Coverage

Health insurance can be a confusing avenue to navigate. With all of the changes that have happened over the past year with health care and health insurance, ensuring you and your family have the best plan available from the best insurance company provided can be difficult to determine, especially as healthcare costs continue to increase and policies continue to change.

While it might be simple to take the first plan available, taking the time to research and find the right plan can save your life or a family member’s life down the road. Though a medical emergency is something you never hope happens, if an accident does happen, you will be relieved your health insurance is there to protect you.

When looking for the right health care plans, keep these seven things in mind:

1. Review Options

When it comes to individual health insurance plans, there are multiple types of qualified health plans available under the Affordable Care Act.

Major medical plans are specifically for those who either do not qualify for a subsidy or do not want a subsidy. The purpose for this plan is to offer you coverage while also adhering to the Affordable Care Act, but also to help you avoid a tax penalty.

Major medical plans are for those who both qualify and/or want to take advantage of the government subsidy to aid in paying for health insurance. You can purchase this type of plan without a subsidy, and depending upon your state, you could even purchase this type of insurance through a private exchange.

Catastrophic plans are for the under 30 crowd, and are typically for those looking to avoid the tax-induced penalty for being uninsured. These policies only offer a minimum amount of benefits, but technically fall under the Affordable Care Act’s standards.

7 Things To Keep In Mind While Looking For Health Coverage

2. Private Marketplace

There are private health care plans available, which can be a good option for anyone who is looking for a smaller private practice. These plans do meet the Affordable Care Act, and you should not be penalized for choosing private health care over public health care. These plans can be found through insurance companies, brokers, agents, or even online.

3. Determine Your Needs

One of the best ways to find the right health care plan is to determine exactly what you and your family needs in terms of coverage. Though you cannot predict a medical emergency, sudden illness, or a freak accident, you can predict certain needs. For instance, if your family has a history of colon cancer, it is a wise idea to choose a plan that offers more coverage than simply the basics. Or, if you plan to start a family, find insurance that covers maternity costs. Having a baby is expensive, and the hospital bills, check-ups, and post-baby doctor visits can add up quickly.  Consider a health insurance plan with a lower deductible, in order to keep out of pocket expenses lower.

4. Avoid Overbuying

On the other hand, while you do need a plan that will cover certain things, try not to overbuy. If you are young and healthy, chances are you do not need to purchase a plan with a high deductible. Though many of those plans offer benefits, they do not usually kick in until way late in the game, often long after you have paid quite a bit out of pocket.

5. Cost

For most plans, you will have to pay something out of pocket. Before signing up for a plan, look into the costs, and consider how much you will be paying and how much the insurer will cover for doctor’s visits, medical procedures, and even medications. Some plans do cover medication, and if you have a prescription, double check to see which insurance companies cover those medicines.

6. Dependents

If you have a child under the age of 26 who is not covered by health insurance, either by an employer or through an individual plan, you have the option to pay for their health insurance.

7. When Coverage Starts

Many assume health coverage begins immediately after signing up with an insurance company. However, in most cases, your insurance may not begin until the following month. In case you need insurance as soon as possible, make sure you ask your provider when your coverage will officially begin.

Whether you are looking to switch health insurance companies or are just starting the process, these seven tips can help you narrow down your search and find the right care for your needs.

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