How to Compare Health Insurance Quotes and Plans
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, you must first cut through the typically confusing insurance-talk about coinsurance, networks, deductibles, and all the rest.
So what exactly should you consider when 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 plan to continue your relationship your present doctor, ask what insurance plans he or she will participate in for the coming plan year. Networks are now getting smaller; what a network was two years ago may not be the same network it is now. When you compare health insurance quotes, always 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. 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.
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.
Research 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. On their website, you will know which hospitals or medical practices in your area have received the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. At the end of the day, you want a health plan with a highly reputable hospital near you, all other things being equal.
Consider your prescription drugs.
The National Committee for Quality Assurance is another nonprofit organization that reviews 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. When you compare health insurance quotes, don’t forget to see if your prescription drugs are covered in the plan.
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.