Depending on where you are in the world, December is usually the time to start shopping around for health insurance and picking one that’s best for you and your family’s needs. As aggravating as it is to think, for the most part, when it comes to finding the right type of health insurance, it’s usually just trial and error. While sure, you can read online about all of the qualities of a health insurance company and what they will and won’t cover, sometimes, it’s not until you actually need to use them before you really figure out if they’re good or not.
But with that said, as you know, you need health insurance, your family needs health insurance, and there are honestly some benefits to having health insurance, too. So, when it comes to health insurance, how can you find the right one? Where you can find the right one where you’ll no longer need to shop around annually for a new health insurance provider. Well, here’s everything you need to know!
What You Need to Know to Make an Informed Decision
As you know, both your health and financial stability are essentially on the line. It’s not always the easiest to find dental insurance that covers implants and anything else you want to be covered for you and your family. That’s why you really need to do some extensive research. So, here are some things that you should really take a look at first before selecting just any health insurance company.
What are the Coverage Options?
Does the insurance cover basic medical services? What about specialized care? You absolutely need to ensure that the plan covers essential medical services such as doctor visits, hospital stays, and prescription medications. But of course, if you or your family members have specific health needs, that means that you’re going to need a specialist and the treatments, too- so the health insurance needs to cover this as well.
What’s the Network of Providers?
Are there healthcare providers you’d rather work with? Such as a local doctor who has a great reputation or one you’ve been a patient with for years? Well, one thing to keep in mind is the network that each health insurance company has. So, you’ll need to assess the network of healthcare providers associated with the plan. In-network providers typically cost less than those out-of-network.
Costs and Premiums
This is major, and it’s honestly one of the biggest reasons why annually people will shop around because this can impact your financial stability. So, you’re going to have to go ahead and consider your budget and choose a plan with monthly premiums that you can comfortably afford. Another thing you’re going to have to do is evaluate the out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance, that an insurance provider has and what you would be able to afford. A lower premium may result in higher out-of-pocket expenses.
This can also tie in with the above because this is also going to affect your family’s financial stability. So, you’ll need to examine the plan’s formulary to ensure it covers the prescription drugs you currently take or may need in the future. Another thing to note is that you’ll need to understand the tiered pricing system for medications, too, since different tiers have varying copayment amounts that you’ll need to pay.
As bleak as this sounds, some health insurance companies really don’t bother to offer preventative care or even wellness programs. Not all of them are like this, but there are a lot that are. So, you’ll need to look for plans that cover preventive services at no additional cost, such as vaccinations, screenings, and annual check-ups. The same can be said for wellness, too, as some insurance companies will help cover programs or will even offer incentives for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes, you really need to just expect the unexpected, and you need to make sure that you’re able to cover yourself and your family in case an emergency happens. In general, you want to avoid putting yourself at risk whatsoever. So, no matter what you choose, you absolutely need to ensure the plan provides coverage for emergency room visits and ambulance services. The same goes for non-life-threatening situations, too, since those needs can be pretty important.
Chronic Health Conditions
Do you or anyone else in your family have chronic health issues? Are there health conditions that run in the family that are very common? These need to be kept in mind as well. You’re absolutely going to have to verify that the plan offers comprehensive coverage for ongoing treatments and management.
These are very common, and more health insurance providers are opting for this, so it’s something you really need to keep in mind. What this means is what benefits you can get within the year and what limits you have before you have to pay out of pocket. Limitations like this are becoming a norm.
If you’re younger and you want to start a family or expand it, then you’ll need to look into this, too, because not all health insurance providers will cover this or won’t cover much of it. So, you’ll need to examine the plan’s coverage for maternity care, including prenatal and postnatal services. The same goes for family planning, such as contraceptives and fertility treatments if applicable.
Do you move a lot for work? Do you have to travel often, work or vacations? Well, this is something else you’re going to want to think about, too. If you’re on the go, you’re going to want to feel safe and ensured that you’ll be able to be covered, no matter where you are.
Alright, so health insurance providers aren’t exactly known for their upstanding service, but you are paying for something (even though you do need this), so this should be good, right? Well, you should evaluate the ease of reaching customer service and the responsiveness of the insurance provider to address queries and concerns.
Last but not least is mental health. While there’s a drastically less social stigma when it comes to mental health, it’s still something that health insurance companies don’t particularly want to cover. So, you’re going to want to see if they cover counseling, therapy, seeing a psychiatrist, or even if they cover the cost of medicine often needed for mental health.
Why You Should Shop Around
If you actually have the flexibility to shop around (such as not using employer health insurance), then it’s strongly recommended to shop around so you can find one that’s perfect for you and your family. While yes, sometimes it can feel like a major inconvenience having to shop around, at the end of the day, it’s definitely going to be worth it. So, here’s some reasons why it’s going to be for the best to shop around for health insurance rather than just dealing with what you have.
Your Health Needs are Changing Over Time
Life is a series of changes, from career shifts to family expansions or contractions. Your health insurance needs should adapt to these transitions to ensure comprehensive coverage aligned with your current circumstances. In general, as you age, your health needs are going to change, too, so you need to keep this in mind.
One huge complaint people are making worldwide is how health insurance premiums keep going up, and it’s true; they just keep going up more and more! The cost of health insurance premiums can be influenced by economic factors, policy changes, or shifts in the insurance market. There very well might be a chance that you won’t be able to afford what you currently have because the price keeps increasing each year.
Plans are Changing
Some health insurance companies really do care, and they truly want the best for their customers. There might be a chance that everything you want and need is with a company that you just don’t know about yet until you shop around. So, make sure you stay informed when it comes to all of this stuff.
Your Policy Might Change
For the most part, many insurance companies will change their plans and increase the price of what is and what isn’t covered. Unless you actually take a good look at what’s needed, there might be a huge chance that you’re going to be missing something that you’ll need for your health. So, make sure to see what’s going to be in your package for next year, and if it’s not something you like, then you have the chance to immeidatey look into a new company before the deadline hits.
You deserve to save money, you deserve to have some financial stability, and sometimes, the greatest way to truly do this is through choosing the right health insurance company. So make sure you do this because who knows how much you can save?