Buying into a health care plan, whether it is a group plan or an individual plan, is a necessary expense in today’s America. While medical technology and care has accelerated, allowing for many new life saving procedures, the cost of that care has also skyrocketed. The only way to ensure you have access to this care is by buying health care insurance. If you are looking to buy individual health insurance, this article will provide step-by-step instructions for finding the best and most affordable health insurance for you and your family.
Check with your employer. Most employers offer group health insurance plans. If you are employed, and your company provides such an option, this is almost always the most affordable deal you can take. Depending on the employer, you may or may not be offered a package that can extend to your spouse and children. If you are offered family health insurance, again, it is almost always the best deal. If not, you should purchase an affordable plan through the same insurance provider as the one your company uses. This will probably not give you any special deals or discounts, but it is far easier to manage bills and understand a single health plan if you and your family are working with the same provider. This will also give you greater peace of mind in knowing that, under the same provider, you can all expect the same care and coverage without any unpleasant surprises.
Check for a few key red flags. First, make sure the plan doesn’t omit any major coverage areas. Think about hospital visits, surgeries, in-patient and out-patient care, office visits, consultations, mental health coverage, physical therapy sessions, drug prescriptions and other relevant areas. Make sure you are not buying into a plan that sets serious limits on the amount of care you can receive, as some plans will lock in dollar limits or limit your visits per year. These can obviously become a serious problem when unexpected illnesses or accidents occur. As always, be sure to read the fine print. Make sure there are no loopholes built into the agreement, such as “this is not major coverage” or other limited benefit plans.
Know the relevant laws. For example, if you have serious health problems and you foresee the loss of your job, or coverage that just won’t last, then seek out a financial planner or health insurance agent. These professionals can offer insight into various laws which protect you, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While at it, seek advice and guidance on how the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act can also affect you, and your children. Most health care reform bills are complex and multifaceted, and it’s important to understand how they protect you and may provide assistance for you as well.
Cut down on the expenses you will probably rack up while shopping for health insurance coverage. First, as stated above, go for the group health insurance plan. This is almost always a cheaper, better policy for you. If you cannot secure a group plan through your employer, check with any professional organizations or associations you may belong to that offer a chance to buy into a group plan.
Consider raising your deductible. By increasing your deductible you can lower your monthly premium. Do this especially if you are a healthy individual and do not foresee a long run of serious health issues. This will lead to big savings in your annual premium bills.
Read the fine print and feel confident enough to try to cut out parts that are totally unnecessary. Again, your success here will depend on whether or not you have an individual or group plan, as well as which insurance company you are dealing with. But, if you are successful, you can eliminate big cost sinks within your plan and enjoy huge cost savings.
Pick and choose the medical services that you think you might need. Most plans are expensive as they provide an infinite number of healthcare services, some of which you may deem as totally unnecessary and ridiculous. Leaving out those benefits, like maternity care or the choice to consult a doctor beyond the network, will bring down the premium considerably.
Don’t wait until you have looming health concerns to buy health insurance. Buy it while you are healthy, if at all possible, lock it in. You’ll need it sooner or later. Going without health coverage is simply no longer an option. Alternatives, such as buying a discount medical card, are often inadequate and do not provide you with the proper coverage for modern medical care.
Go for the right combination. Going for a higher deductible means that you have to pay a lesser premium. So if you one who is purchasing health plan only as a safety net, going for such a plan will reduce the cost of your medical policy considerably.