Finding the Right Health Insurance Plan

Health Care CostsBefore your even start your search for the right insurance plan for you and your family, there are three things you should consider and make notes about: 1) Your health care needs; 2) Your budget; and, 3) Your preferences.

For instance, will someone need braces, will you be having another baby, will you be joining an age bracket that requires increased annual screenings?  What co-payment on prescription drugs can you afford each month? Do you prefer to be able to see a specialist directly without a referral from your family doctor first? These are questions to ask yourself and inventory to help you determine what your needs and preferences. To make this process easier, we will give you a checklist later on in this series with a list of things to consider.

Health Care Coverage Needs

If you were seeking health insurance for a single person, a family with young children, or empty nesters, most likely you would be given three entirely different health plans. Health insurance can seem like trying to scale a mountain, but if you start with your individual needs, it will be more like a walk on the beach.

Start by making a list of different types of health care you will need. For instance, physical check-ups and yearly vaccinations would be a great place to start for a young family. But, an older couple might want to start with prescription medication coverage.

Maternity and pediatrics are great additions for a young family; while life, vision, and prescriptions would be a starting point for older couples. Make a list of coverage options that are important to you and if you are not sure where to start, ask friends and co-workers for tips and ideas; chances are, they are in the same boat and can get you on the right track.

Budget Considerations

It would be terrific if costs and our budgets weren’t a concern but few of us are so lucky.  Knowing how much you can afford in monthly premiums,  co-pays, and out-of-pocket expenses is also essential to choosing wisely.

Premiums and deductibles, when dealing with health care, can get expensive. When deciding on a personal health insurance plan, your budget must be at the front of your mind. Higher deductibles usually mean lower premiums, but you must also be sure that paying a large chunk out-of-pocket still fits within your lifestyle. Deductible are the payments which you will incur before your insurance company will cover any of your claims.

A managed-care health insurance plan might be your best bet if you are thinking about keeping your premiums low. Managed-care health plans limit your choice of in-network providers, but allow you to keep the money under control. As with anything, the more choices you have, the more expensive the coverage becomes.

Return to the Table of Contents for the Choosing Health Care series

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