With all of the talk in the news about the sorry state of health insurance in America, choosing a plan that’s affordable and makes sense can be a little intimidating — but it’s not impossible to pick an insurance plan and make it work for you.
Selecting an insurance plan and provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make, and it’s essential that you don’t just choose the cheapest plan you can find. While it’s true that affordable health insurance is becoming scarcer and scarcer, this article is truly designed to help you find something that won’t break the bank and to make the best of a not-so-rosy situation.
Figure Out Your Priorities Before You Start Looking For Health Insurance
Are you married to having a plan with a low co-pay?
Do you need something with a mild-to-moderate deductible?
Or are you looking to keep your monthly overhead as low as possible, planning only to use your insurance policy for catastrophic issues?
Do you want to continue to see the doctors you’ve been seeing for years?
The above questions are all questions that you need to know the answers to before your health insurance search even begins. You may see some other questions for your self out of reading this list. The danger in not having answers to these questions in advance is that it makes you more susceptible to being dazzled by the cheapest price you can find. In the end, paying an extra 10 or 20 dollars a month can actually save you thousands if it’s going toward the right plan.
A Reputable Insurance Provider Makes All the Difference
There are a whole lot of new kids – er new insurance companies – on the block. There’s a good chance, though, that an insurer you’ve never heard of could cause you more grief than one of those behemoths you hear your friends and family complaining about. For one thing, your selection of physicians will no doubt be severely limited by choosing an unknown provider.
There is also the possibility that such a provider won’t have worked the kinks out of its claims and customer service systems yet, meaning you could be on the hook for extra doctor payments just because of claims errors or an inability to get in touch with someone who can recognize a billing error.
A Health Savings Account Might Just Be the Answer
If you tend not to use your insurance card too often, consider a health savings account. The way an HSA works is by taking the money you’re saving from a low-premium/high-deductible policy, and placing into an account in which it can grow with taxes deferred. The money you save can be used to cover unexpected medical expenses, but you can withdraw any leftover funds once you’re 65 and use them for whatever you want. Not a bad idea, eh?
Shop Around for the Best Prices on Medicine, Too
Did you know that prices on medicine can vary as widely as prices on insurance plans? Drive around to a few pharmacies and you’ll find that some just charge far more than their counterparts. Another thing that many patients don’t consider is the fact that you can get bulk discounts on many types of prescription medication. This, of course, requires getting a longer prescription from your doctor before you ever enter the pharmacy, so be sure to ask your physician before you leave the office.
Save Money on Insurance Simply by Being Careful
Most people don’t know that you can request a trial period with an insurance company. What this means is that if – and only if – you’re unsatisfied with your provider after a set period of time, you can get your money back for that introductory period. It’s one of many ways you can save money just by being careful before you fully commit to an insurer.
We’ve all heard (and probably experienced) a number of health care horror stories, and the best way to avoid these is to research any plan you’re considering thoroughly before signing on the dotted line, and following all of the above advice thereafter.
Get more information on choosing a health insurance plan.