Choosing a health insurance plan can be a frightening task. So many things to consider and so many “tricks” to look out for.
Although it can be a little overwhelming at times, you can navigate through the shark infested waters and find a Health Insurance Plan that is perfect for your situation and at a price you can afford.
There is one very important thing you need to do before you get started…decide exactly what you need.
You can’t choose the plan and the benefits that are right for you if you don’t know what you need.
To figure out what you need, you have to answer a few questions of your current situation both about your health and your financial situation.
The more money you’re willing to pay in a family deductible, the less expensive any health plan will be because you are accepting some of the risk and that saves the insurance companies money.
So the first question you need to answer is how much do you want your deductible to be each year for family and individual? This amount can be determined by what you think you can afford to pay if something catastrophic were to happen to you or your family.
The way that we choose our deductible was that we looked at the difference in the monthly premium for each deductible and then figured out how long it would take us to make up the difference in deductible for each deductible level.
For instance, the plan we were looking at had deductible levels at $4,500 and $5,400 per year for our family. The difference in the monthly premium between the 2 deductibles was $300 per month. So we figured that in only 3 months we would save enough money to pay the additional deductible and the other 9 months we would put into our pocket as savings. Does that make sense?
The next question that you need to answer when choosing a health insurance plan is the type of plan that you want…do you want co-pays for doctor’s visits? If you do, how much do you want to pay?
Do you want prescription drug coverage?
There are a lot of types of health insurance plans and I think that each company names their plans something different so it’s hard for consumers to compare apples to apples. But there are 2 basic types right now:
1. PPO – which is a preferred provider organization
2. HSA – health spending account with accident and catastrophic rider policies.
The PPO is the traditional health insurance plan that most employers offer. It has co-pays for doctor’s visits and most of the time prescription drug coverage. The employer pays for the employee’s coverage and the employee must pay for the coverage for his family.
The PPO is the Cadillac of health insurance plans. And since it is group health insurance, you cannot be refused coverage if you are a part of the group.
This can be a good thing and a bad thing. If the group you’re in has a lot of sickness and/or accidents, the insurance company will increase your premiums. If the group is healthy and doesn’t have a lot of accidents, the insurance company will increase your premiums. Sucks doesn’t it?
The HSA is a new plan that is government approved and lets people who want to manage their health care expenses save a lot of money and pay for their health care out of pre-tax dollars.
When combined with an accident policy that limits the amount of money you are out of pocket in the case of an accident AND a catastrophic health insurance policy that protects you in case of a major catastrophic health event such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, etc the HSA plan is the most economical.
In the end, we decided to go with an HSA plan with the accident and catastrophic policies and cut our health insurance plan costs by more than $500 per month.
The best way to find a plan that is perfect for your situation is to fill out a get health insurance quote form on the internet and then talk with an agent about what you need when they call.