Healthcare is a huge industry in the United States. In 1960, the healthcare industry was worth $24.7 billion. Today, it’s worth over $3,504 trillion. That’s some impressive growth, and it means a lot of Americans are overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right insurance plan for their families.
How do you know that you’re getting the best coverage at a price you can afford? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through making the right choice you can feel confident in. From deciding the type of plan to choosing supplemental coverage, this guide takes the stress out of understanding which health insurance plan is suited for your family.
Step 1: Know Your Marketplace
Your first step is to know where you should be looking for health insurance. If you’re like most Americans, you can actually go through your employer. This means you don’t need to use the government insurance exchanges or marketplaces.
However, even if your employer offers insurance, you can still search health exchanges for coverage. In most cases, it’s cheaper to go through your employer since they pay a large portion of the premium, making it more affordable for you.
If your current job doesn’t offer health insurance coverage or if you’re unemployed or self-employed, you can shop on your state’s marketplace. Start at HealthCare.gov and enter your zip code to get a custom list of plans.
Step 2: Understand Plan Types
Now that you know where to search, we need to clear up the different types of plans you’re likely to come across. Understanding these will help make sense of what type of plan you need for your family:
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – This allows you to have lower out-of-pocket costs with a single primary care doctor. You’ll need to go through this doctor to order tests, coordinate care, and work with specialists.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – A PPO gives you more provider options, and you don’t need to see only in-network doctors. However, this plan will cost more for out-of-network care.
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – You’ll need to stay in-network for coverage with an EPO, but you’ll also have lower costs without the referrals. You can think of this as a combination between an HMO and a PPO.
- Point-of-Service Plan (POS) – Finally, a POS plan don’t require you to stay in-network for coverage, but you’ll need a referral for out-of-network care. You’ll also have a primary doctor who coordinates your care.
Using this cheat sheet, you can get a better picture for what works best for you. Do you have a primary care doctor already? Do you plan to see specialists? These are the questions to ask yourself.
Step 3: Check the Network
Next, check the healthcare networks of the plans you’re interested in. You’ll most likely want your primary care doctor in-network since this will reduce your costs. If you already have a doctor or specialists you want to see, check to make sure they’re considered in-network.
If you don’t already have a preferred doctor, look for a plan with a large network that will give you more choices. This is even more important if you live in a rural area and need more options locally. Once you’ve eliminated plans that don’t include the right providers, move to the next step.
Step 4: Compare Benefits
Now, it’s time to compare the different benefits. You’ll need to take several things into consideration. Here are a few common questions to guide your search when comparing benefits:
- What are the out-of-pocket costs for common services?
- What preventative treatments are covered?
- If you take any medications, are they covered under this plan?
- Are there maternity services offered?
- What if you get sick when traveling?
These are the important questions to ask to make sure you avoid any surprises. Don’t feel afraid to talk to an insurance representative to make sure your questions are clearly answered. This is a big decision, so don’t rush the process.
Step 5: Remember Supplemental Plans
Last but not least, don’t forget about supplemental coverage. Supplemental health insurance fills in the gaps left by traditional health insurance. Many people don’t realize that health insurance doesn’t cover things like dental and vision insurance for adults.
Luckily, you can purchase supplemental health insurance for just a few dollars a month. You don’t want to get caught without coverage, so check for supplemental plans when you’re shopping for traditional insurance to make it easy. For more information on dental plans with fast quotes visit Health Markets.
Choose the Best Insurance
Your health insurance matters when your family’s health is at stake. Have you taken all of these steps above to choose the right plan? Sometimes understanding health insurance can feel like an exhausting chore. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Take your selection process slowly and carefully. This coverage is something you should trust. Make the right decision about your health insurance today.