Finding the right health insurance plans for you can be stressful and confusing, especially if you’re just getting started as an independent adult. What does health insurance even cover? What’s the difference between HMOs and PPOs? How do you know if your new plan has good customer service? Luckily, these seven tips will help guide you through the process of choosing the best health insurance plan possible.
Buying health insurance is now simpler than ever
In 2014, nearly all Americans will be required to buy health insurance plans or pay a fine. The Affordable Care Act has made buying health insurance easier than ever, so you should definitely explore your options before making any decisions. The best way to find out if an insurance plan is right for you is to check out its costs and benefits.
How much do I need?
Before you start looking into health insurance plans, it’s a good idea to get a sense of how much coverage you need. To do that, make a list of everything in your life that costs money: housing, food, transportation (do you own a car?), entertainment, utilities and so on. Then take all those numbers and add them up; that’s your total monthly expense—or TME.
How much will my plan cost?
Like any major purchase, cost is a major factor when choosing a health insurance plan. The good news is, according to Healthcare.gov, in 2017 those without employer-based insurance will be able to choose from 14 different plans at four different levels of coverage. Before deciding which one suits you best, it’s important to consider what type of care you’ll likely need and how much your plan could end up costing you over time—both in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Who can help me understand my options?
It’s one thing to compare premiums, deductibles and co-pays on your own. It’s another to see them in context of your own personal finances. Many people don’t know what they can afford.
Should I buy an individual or family plan?
Finding a good health insurance plans is all about matching coverage to your needs. If you’re single, or don’t have any children, a cheap individual health insurance plan might be what you need. If you have a family, however, it may make more sense to buy an inexpensive family health insurance plan. These plans can include coverage for up to five people and still stay within your budget.
What are some basic questions to ask before enrolling in a health insurance plan?
The most important thing to do is talk to your insurance agent. There are a lot of factors that go into which health insurance plan is best for you. While price and coverage should be major considerations, some of these other factors might not be as obvious: Are there hospitals in your area that participate with your provider? Will you have out-of-network coverage or is everything covered in network? Are there deductibles you’ll need to meet before your insurance kicks in?