How to Compare Health Insurance Quotes and Plans
One of the wisest – if not the wisest – steps you can take before buying a health insurance plan, is to ask for several quotes from different companies and compare them. However, first, you must cut through the often confusing insurance concepts such as networks, deductibles, coinsurance and the rest.
So what do you have to think about when you compare health insurance quotes?
Know what’s important to you.
First and foremost, make a list of the things that are important for you to have in a health plan. If you would like to continue the relationship you have with your current doctor, ask which insurance plans he or she intends to participate in during the forthcoming plan year. Networks are now getting smaller; what a network was two years ago may not be the same network it is now. Consider this as you compare health insurance quotes.
Look beyond the premium.
A low premium can really be attractive , but you need to know that a plan with a small premium can have a big deductible, which means you may be responsible for a large portion of your own medical bills with each passing year. Before certain types of services are covered, you’ll need to meet the deductible first. This is clearly one of the most crucial reasons you should compare health insurance quotes before buying any plan.
Review all potential out-of-pocket costs.
Although different types of preventive care are must now be fully covered at no cost to you, under health reform, you may have to take on copayments, coinsurance (a portion of the total costs) and a deductible for the rest of the services.
Know your doctors and hospitals.
Check with the The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), an independent nonprofit organization that provides accreditation and certification to hospitals and health care programs. Their website will let you determine whether a hospital or medical practice has been awarded the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. In the end, you want a health plan, everything else being equal, with a very high-quality hospital in your vicinity.
Consider your prescription drugs.
You can also check with the National Committee for Quality Assurance, another nonprofit that reviews medical practices.
In ranking health insurance plans at the state level, the Consumer Reports’ website makes use of the committee’s data on preventive services, treatment and customer satisfaction. When you compare health insurance quotes, don’t forget to see if your prescription drugs are covered in the plan.
Even if it may seem easy to just renew your current plan, you should review your other options, whether in private or through your employer. Try to appreciate the whole picture and not just the numbers involved. It may require a little more time from you, but yes, you need to compare health insurance quotes if you want to be wise about your purchase.
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