If your employer offers health insurance, it’s recommended that you take advantage of their benefits. The amount of coverage you receive for the price you pay is worth it but not everyone has that luxury. If you work for a small business, you may not have access to health care or you may be running your own small business. If you’re your own boss, how do you get insurance? At that point, many people start shopping for an individual health plan but it’s hard to know where to start and what to look for. You know that it’s important to have health insurance but where do you go from there?
It’s best to start with a base knowledge of what you need and work from there.
A really great health insurance plan is going to have five different components.
- You want to make sure that you have a coverage limit that can cover anything. An insurance company will only pay up to your maximum coverage amount. After that, you’re responsible for the remaining costs and they will not be cheap. Experts recommend a $1 million maximum per claim and a $3 million maximum per lifetime.
- With almost all plans that are available to you, there will be some form of out of pocket cost. Your goal is to make sure that you cap this at a certain amount so you don’t end up spending more than you should.
- Some plans will try to put a really low dollar limit not only on your coverage but individual expenses as well. This can include limiting the coverage amount per day for hospital stays and even different types of surgeries. So while you may think that your bypass surgery is totally covered because you have$1 million coverage limit, the fine print on your policy only provides $50,000 for that surgery. Try to avoid these internal policy limits at all costs.
- Popular plans like HMO’s and PPO’s are going to limit your flexibility to see a doctor of your preference. You are going to pay less for plans like these but when it comes to your health, you really don’t want to be forced to see the fourth best doctor for your condition when you know the expert is right down the street. Don’t just think about price when you choose your plan. You make a sacrifice with each savings.
- Some policies will only cover any medical claims within a certain area, or only within your network. If you frequently travel and are forced to see a doctor in Beijing, you want to make sure your health insurance can cover it.
Now that you know what you need, you can start your research. Understand that you aren’t going to find a policy that includes the best of everything listed above but it’s great criteria to use when shopping for a plan. Start with the internet and do your research there. Our website will help you understand the ins and outs of different policies and to obtain different quotes for easy comparison. When you think you know what you need, there are plenty of websites that can give you pretty accurate quotes based on what you need and other factors insurance companies use to determine pricing. Don’t go with just the first quote offered to you.
Be sure to shop around and compare prices. Once you’ve gathered a few results that seem promising, don’t be afraid to call the actual insurance company. You are going to want to speak with an agent so that you can figure out the fine print of each policy. This is where you might want to ask about things like per claim or per lifetime maximums and internal policy limits. It may seem like a lot of work to go through just to get health insurance but it’s one of the most important things you can buy. Medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy in America so making sure you have adequate coverage is an investment in your future. Don’t make a hasty choice.