Now that health insurance is a mandatory requirement, many people are venturing into new territory. Buying a policy is often as easy as talking to a representative over the phone or filling out online forms, but how can you be sure you’re choosing the right policy for you and your family? Here are some factors to consider when reviewing the many insurance options available to you.
Copay Amounts or Use Patterns?
If your family is extraordinarily healthy and only needs to see the doctor once a year or less, there is no point in paying for a high-cost policy with a copay of 15 dollars. If you have chronic illness such as diabetes or cancer in the family and are going to the doctor on a regular basis, paying a higher premium for a smaller copay may be a good idea. Run the numbers and see if a more expensive policy makes sense for your normal appointment needs.
Do You Need Emergency Coverage?
Lots of young and healthy families overpay for their insurance because they’re concerned one accident could land them in the ER. However, there are policies that exist solely for these types of people. If you just want to make sure you and your loved ones are covered in case of an emergency, a high-copay, bare-bones policy with a high lifetime limit and small ER copay may be ideal. This way, you leave more money in your pocket without being bankrupted by a broken wrist or appendicitis.
What Procedures Do You Need Covered?
For married couples who don’t want children or are done having children, a health insurance policy that doesn’t cover fertility treatments is fine. The same can be said about policies for those who oppose abortion and would never have one anyway.
Some insurance companies also don’t cover chiropractors, acupuncture, or weight-loss surgery. Insurance companies vary greatly as to what they will and will not cover. If the company’s exclusions line up with your family circumstances or moral values, you could save money by agreeing to their exclusion terms.
Do You Need a Family or Individual Plan?
In some dual-income households, it is actually cheaper for each adult to purchase their own health insurance policy from work than it is for one of them to purchase a family policy. This is especially true if there are no children or only one child. If the policies offered by your jobs work well for your needs and are priced appropriately, this is a good way to keep costs lower while still enjoying excellent coverage.
Are the Lifetime Limitations Enough?
If you have reason to believe you may get a chronic or incredibly expensive disease later in life, check out the lifetime limit on all available policies and choose one with a high limit. Two million dollars may look like a lot until you develop a serious condition that leaves you with heaps of medical bills.
Choosing a health insurance policy involves thinking about many different factors. Every family’s needs are different, so take your time and find the one that makes the most sense for you and your loved ones, both for your health and your wallet.