Shopping for Health Insurance: What You Need to Know

Between the rising cost of health insurance and numerous types of policies, shopping for health insurance can seem like a daunting task. So how can you sort through all the chaos and find a policy to safeguard your health and maintain your budget?

Preparation and Education

Knowing the type of coverage you need before you begin comparing policies will make this task far less intimidating come shopping time. You and only you can identify the types of coverage you’ll need–from prescription drugs to covering pre-existing conditions, identifying your needs will help you to avoid purchasing more than what you need.

To learn more about the types of plans and benefits available in your area, contact the Division of Insurance (DOI) in your state. This underutilized resource is geared toward consumer protection and education and typically has downloadable articles and brochures to help you make informed decisions about your health and health insurance. And, when it comes to buying health insurance, knowledge is power!

Shopping Around

In most states, there’s no flat rate for health insurance policies. This means different insurers can sell similar policies for very different prices. While price disparities may seem like more work for you, these variations are really to your benefit. Obtaining and comparing multiple quotes and policies allows you to select a plan that meets both your health and financial needs.

So what exactly should you be comparing when shopping for policies? Here are a few major questions to ask:

  • How much is the monthly premium?
  • What’s the deductible?
  • What percentage of expenses is reimbursed after the deductible has been paid?
  • Does the policy cover all major medical expenses, including maternity costs?
  • Does the policy shoulder any costs for prescription drugs?
  • What coverages are included in the policy?
  • Does the policy cover chronic or pre-existing conditions?
  • Does the policy cover preventative care?
  • Are the doctors or facilities you frequent inside the insurer’s
  • How much will it cost you to be seen someone outside of the insurer’s network?
  • Does the policy cover alternative treatment, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care?

While you will undoubtedly think of additional questions to ask, the questions above will help you to quickly stack different policies against one another–and get an idea which plan is right for you.