How to Compare Health Insurance Quotes and Plans
Among the best – if not the best- steps you can take prior to buying a health insurance plan, is asking for a number of quotes from a number of companies and compare them with one another. But first, you need to understand the usually confusing insurance-speak about networks, copays, deductibles and the others.
So just what exactly should you consider as you compare health insurance quotes?
Decide what’s important to you.
First of all, 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. The networks are quickly getting smaller; what they were a couple of years ago may not be what they are now. When you compare health insurance quotes, always take this into account.
Look beyond the premium.
Yes, a low premium does get rather tempting, but you should know that a low-premium plan may have a high deductible, possibly making you shoulder a big part of your own medical bills year to year. Before certain types of services are covered, you’ll need to meet the deductible first. Clearly, this is among the biggest reasons you need to compare health insurance quotes before deciding on a particular plan.
Go through all possible out-of-pocket expenses.
Though several types of preventive care must now be fully covered at zero cost to you, under health reform, you may have to pay copayments and coinsurance, as well as a deductible for other services.
Research doctors and hospitals.
Begin with the independent and non-profit organization known as The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which is behind the accreditation and certification of many hospitals and health care programs today. Their website will tell you whether a medical practice or hospital has received the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. Everything else being equal, you just want a health plan with a reputable hospital within your area.
Think about your prescription drugs.
Also check with the National Committee for Quality Assurance, another nonprofit organization evaluating the quality of medical practices.
Consumer Reports’ website applies the committee’s customer satisfaction, preventive services and treatment data on as basis for ranking health insurance plans on the state level. When you compare health insurance quotes, be sure to check if your prescription drugs are covered by the plan.
Though it seems easier to simply renew the play you have right now, it’s best to explore other options, whether privately or through your employer. Try to appreciate the whole picture and not just the numbers involved. It may take a little more time, but yes, it is a must to compare health insurance quotes before deciding which plan to buy.