Health Insurance 101: Things To Consider Before Buying Health Insurance!
There are a number of things to consider before buying health insurance for yourself, your family, or employees of your business. The first, most important thing to understand about health insurance is that cheaper is not always better!
Shop for Benefits Not Premiums: Cheaper Is Not Always Better
We talk with our clients on a regular basis and we always have their best interests at the top of our minds. We have seen too many individuals and families frustrated because they bought a cheap health insurance policy without really understanding the benefits.
In today’s economy, a careful study of health insurance benefits and price is very important prior to purchase. We’ve seen the effects of a poor economy in the health insurance plan choices individuals are making on behalf of themselves and their families. We understand that premium costs relative to other components of your family’s budget are uppermost in your mind as you shop for health insurance.
But before you choose that low-premium health insurance plan option, please utilize the cost-free and bias-free professional service of SFV Health Insurance to formulate a health insurance strategy that is effective for your family’s finances in both the short and the long run.
Your goal is high quality health insurance benefits that meet your needs.
Please read the following and consider these as you evaluate your health insurance options.
Your Options Are Important
- There are many types of health insurance plans: HMOs, PPOs and Health Savings Account (HSA) Compatible PPOs
- Learn about each type of health insurance plan before you make a decision on what to buy.
- The more information you have, the better your health insurance decisions will be!
The 8 Questions To Ask Before You Choose a Health Insurance Plan
- What does it cost to see a doctor?
- What is the cost of labs and x-rays?
- What is the cost of outpatient surgery?
- What is the cost of a hospital stay?
- What are the wellness benefits?
- What do drugs cost?
- Is there an annual deductible?
- What is the maximum annual out-of-pocket cost?
Carrier Brochure & Evidence of Coverage (EOC) Provide a Wealth of Information
Be sure to ask, “What medical services can I expect to be covered under this policy? Are there any exclusions or limitations that I need to be aware of?”
Make certain you read your health insurance policy. The last thing you want when dealing with sickness or injury is to find out that your health insurance plan doesn’t cover what you thought it would. There should be no surprises related to the medical coverage you are expecting from the health insurance plan you purchase.
- Make sure you receive a copy of the carrier brochure so you can compare the health insurance plans you are evaluating.
- Review the Evidence of Coverage (EOC) for the health insurance plan, especially if you have specific health issues.
- The EOC is the document that outlines your contractual benefits and your legal rights.
- Save the EOC and all other health insurance plan brochures and documents along with information relating to your health benefits.
How Changes In Your Life Affect Your Health Insurance Coverage
Life events that may signal a need to change your health insurance benefits
- Childbirth or Adoption
- Dependent child reaching adulthood
- Death of spouse
- Terminating your employment with a company
Let’s say a life change has occurred: You have left your previous employer; you are a recent college graduate and no longer qualify for coverage on your parents’ health insurance plan; or perhaps a change in your marital status has altered your access to health insurance coverage. Whatever the impetus for change, a part of your life you might have taken for granted is now front and center on your to-do list.
Having access to affordable medical care through a health insurance plan of your choosing isn’t an option in today’s world: It’s a must-have in a world where an accident or what seems like a minor illness can quickly spiral into a financial tsunami.
Okay, first, let’s take a deep breath and consider our options. If you’ve just left your employer, you may qualify for health insurance coverage through that employer. It’s called COBRA and you can read all about the subject at the United States Department of Labor website or call our office for information. A spouse who, as a result of divorce, finds themselves without access to health insurance coverage can also investigate the viability of COBRA through their former spouse’s employer.
The main drawback to COBRA coverage is that it is expensive. You can be responsible for up to 110% of the full cost of the premium. As an employee, your employer subsidized some portion of the monthly tab to insure you and your family. With COBRA, you pay the full amount yourself.
If COBRA isn’t an option, then you’ll need to look for an individual health insurance policy (this heading also covers family health insurance). The best and quickest way to get a variety of health insurance policy quotes is—and you’re doing it!—comparison shop via the Internet. However, you should be aware that by law you cannot find a cheaper price for the same health insurance plan offered by a particular health insurance company. In other words, you can find lots of different policies with lots of different variables related to deductibles, co-payments, coverage, etc., but one health insurance plan, found at two different agent websites, cannot be priced differently.
Plan for Retirement and Age 65
- Before you retire or reach 65 years of age, find out what health benefits, if any, extend to you and your spouse.
- Consult with your employer’s human resources office, your health insurance plan, your health insurance plan documents or EOC or your employee benefits agent.
- Make informed choices regarding your health benefits and Medicare or Medicare Supplementary Insurance.