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Over the course of the years, health insurance has gotten better in many ways, but one thing is for sure - it has also grown gradually more and more complicated.
This means that you potentially have more to gain by picking the right policy, but also much more to miss out on should you make a less than optimal choice. Here are 5 key things to keep in mind when making this crucial decision that will help ensure it's not one you regret.
1. Make Use Of A Health Insurance Agent
There is no good reason not to use a health insurance agent. You can talk to an insurance expert for free, find a better policy, and do it in less time and with less stress in the process.
A good agent will answer all of your questions, alert you to the most important issues, and help you avoid all-too-common pitfalls people fall into when searching for a plan. Your agent will, in effect, guide you in customizing your plan to fit your exact needs and budget.
2. Start By Assessing Your Healthcare Needs
Many people make the mistake of starting off looking at costs and benefits and plan details. They get lost in a maze of micro-information, get caught up in what seems like a good deal and lose sight of the real purpose of health insurance - to meet your actual likely health care needs!
A better approach is to start by adding up your total healthcare expenses from last year and figuring out your projected expenses for the year ahead. You don't want to buy much more or less coverage than you need or you will end up paying for what you don't need or (worse) find yourself caught with inadequate coverage during a medical crisis.
3. Predict Your Likely Out Of Pocket Costs
Another way a health insurance agent can help is by running scenarios in connection with each possible plan to see what the overall out of pocket costs would be, given you hit your estimated healthcare usage for the year.
The total equation can be quite complex, involving deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, exclusions, and more. You obviously would prefer the lowest out-of-pocket costs you can get - but that brings us to the next consideration.
4. Balance Premiums With Benefits
Premiums are what most people think of first, but we have reserved them for tip number four. Here's why: you don't just want the cheapest plan but the cheapest plan that provides you with fully adequate benefits given your likely healthcare needs for the covered period.
Thus, if your budget is limited, you may have to do a bit of a balancing act with premium payments and out of pocket costs. And of course, you will want to subtract premiums from out of pocket expenses to determine which plan is likely to save you the most money under the predicted circumstances.
5. Check Details Concerning Prescription Drugs
One out of pocket cost that some forget - but that can matter a lot, is prescription drugs.
Insurers often have formularies that rank drugs based on being generic versus brand-name or high versus low cost and then attach different copays/coinsurance to each category. So it pays to ask about any specific drugs you know you will/may need.
For immediate help in choosing your next health insurance policy, contact Summerlin Benefits Consulting. We can connect you with a top-tier agent who can connect you with your optimal insurer and plan!