Health Insurance Quotes and Plans – How to Make Comparisons
One of the wisest – if not the wisest – steps you can take before buying a health insurance plan, is to ask for several quotes from different companies and compare them. However, first, you must cut through the often confusing insurance concepts such as networks, deductibles, coinsurance and the rest.
So what do you have to think about when you compare health insurance quotes?
Know what’s important to you.
First off, make a list of the things that are important for you to have in a health plan. If you plan to continue your relationship your present doctor, ask what insurance plans he or she will participate in for the coming plan year. The networks are becoming smaller; a network two years ago will not be the same today. As you compare health insurance quotes, remember to take this into account.
Don’t just focus on the premium.
A low premium can really be attractive , but you need to know that a plan with a small premium can have a big deductible, which means you may be responsible for a large portion of your own medical bills with each passing year. You must meet the deductible first before coverage for various types of services can begin. Clearly, this is among the biggest reasons you need to compare health insurance quotes before deciding on a particular plan.
Review all potential out-of-pocket costs.
Although different types of preventive care are must now be fully covered at no cost to you, under health reform, you may have to take on copayments, coinsurance (a portion of the total costs) and a deductible for the rest of the services.
Know your doctors and hospitals.
Start your research with independent nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which certifies and accredits hospitals and health care programs. Their website will let you determine whether a hospital or medical practice has been awarded 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.
In ranking health insurance plans at the state level, the Consumer Reports’ website makes use of the committee’s data on preventive services, treatment and customer satisfaction. Remember to check if the plan includes your prescription drugs as you compare health insurance quotes.
Even if it may seem easy to just renew your current plan, you should review your other options, whether in private 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.