One of the most important choices you make when it comes to protecting your family’s health is your insurance plan. Your health insurance plays a big role in how healthy you are, and whether or not you feel as though you can get the treatment you need.
As you choose your health plan, make sure that you consider your options carefully. Comparison shop, and read the terms of health insurance coverage. You want to choose the best health insurance for you:
1. Anticipate Coverage Needs
While you can’t predict what’s going to happen with your health — and you certainly can’t predict emergencies — you can anticipate possible coverage needs. If you are trying to start a family, then maternity coverage is a must. If you have three children under the age of 10, you know that you are going to need coverage adequate to trips to the doctor for scrapes and bruises, as well as flu visits every winter.
Be realistic about your coverage needs. Think about some of the possibilities, and what items you want to make sure you have covered. From prescription medications to vaccinations, consider your health care needs and look for health insurance that matches your needs.
2. Know What Deductible You Can Handle
You should also be aware of the deductible you can handle. This often goes hand in hand with the size of your emergency fund. Getting a lower price on insurance premiums won’t help you much if you have such a high deductible that you never hit it, and if the expense is overwhelming when something major happens.
Be realistic about the size of deductible you can handle, and then choose a plan that reasonable for your circumstances.
3. Understand Other Out of Pocket Expenses
In addition to the deductible, you need to understand what other out of pocket expenses you might pay. Do you have to pay entirely out of pocket for your prescriptions? Sometimes, after you reach your deductible, you still have out of pocket costs. You might have to pay 20% of the bill on some hospital stays, while the health insurance company pays the remaining 80%. If you are concerned about this, you might have to look for a plan that covers 90% of the costs, or even 100% of the costs, after you hit your deductible.
4. Check the Network Providers
Many health insurance companies have “networks” of health care providers. Before you decide on a health insurance plan, you should check to see which providers are “in network.” Often, you will have heftier out of pocket expenses if you go to a provider that is out of your health insurance company’s network. In some cases, you might not be covered at all for going out of network.
Find out about network coverage. If you travel a great deal, check to see how many in-network providers there are in your regular haunts. One of the reasons I have the health care plan that I do is that there are in-network providers all over the country — including near my husband’s family 3,000 miles away — where we frequently visit.
Price is important when deciding on your health insurance plan. However, you should realize that sometimes the cheapest plan isn’t going to provide the best health insurance coverage for your situation. Get the right coverage for you, then look at ways you can reduce the price.