Now more than ever, selecting the right health insurance plan – one that both protects your health, and won’t bury you in debt should medical emergencies arise – can quickly become an overwhelming task. Today we thought we would try and simplify this decision by laying out some suggestions that we believe are essential when purchasing health insurance. Here are our seven tips on finding the right insurance plan for you and your loved ones:
1) Find out if your preferred physicians are covered
Do you have physicians that you especially respect and trust? Before selecting any health insurance plan, study a list of its in-network providers to see if these physicians are covered by the plan. Otherwise, you will either have to pay more money with every visit to these physicians – or forgo their care entirely.
2) Consider your immediate health care needs
Maybe you have important medical tests or screening procedures coming up, prescription drugs you need refilling, or pregnancy and maternity issues on the horizon. Thinking through in advance what you need – and finding out the degree to which a health insurance plan covers these needs – is absolutely essential.
3) Check out health insurance rankings
Fortunately, there are rankings of health insurance plans around the country. Among other sites, check out Consumer Reports, the National Committee of Quality Assurance and J.D. Power for their rankings and suggestions.
4) Learn the exact dollar amounts for the premiums, co-pay, and deductible
Your premium is the amount of money you are paying for your health insurance coverage every month or quarter, your deductible is the amount you pay each year before the insurance company begins to pay anything, and your co-pay is an amount you have to pay for certain types of care. It’s not an easy task, but finding the right balance between these costs is an absolute must when it comes to choosing a health insurance plan, or you may find yourself paying much, much more than you expected to by the end of the year.
5) Learn your annual maximum
Your “out-of-pocket” maximum is the most you will have to pay in the calendar year for medical care. After you reach this dollar amount, your insurance company must pay 100% of all your bills for the remainder of the year. It’s important to know this number so you can both be prepared for any possible emergencies and/or can decide whether meeting the annual maximum is inevitable, so paying a lower premium for care might be a wiser choice.
6) If you have children, make sure you take them into account
This may sound like common sense, but the reality is that when it comes to health insurance “children” doesn’t mean young ones anymore. Your children under 26 without health insurance covered by an employer can join your plan!
7) Do your research, and don’t rush into any decision
Last but certainly not least is a recommendation we always make for any “big-ticket” or important purchase: that you never purchase in haste. Ideally you will have weeks, even months to think about what health insurance is best for you, so you should take this time to review alternative insurance plans, think about your needs and your budget, and only then make your choice. After all, the last thing you want is to receive poor medical coverage, overwhelming medical bills – or some horrible combination of the two.
At J.G. Wentworth, the nationwide leader in purchasing structured settlement and annuity payments for cash, we hear from folks every day looking to stretch their dollars the furthest. Health insurance is one of those “must have” purchases, and so we hope these seven tips on finding the right health insurance plan will help you make the right choice for yourself and your loved ones. As always, we are also available to talk about how you can get cash now in exchange for all or a portion of your future structured settlement payments. Call us anytime at 877-227-4713.