When you want to buy health insurance, you have to be careful and shop wisely so that you can save some money and get an insurance plan that fits your budget. You also have to ensure that the insurance plan you go for has the right type of coverage that you need. This article would show you how to shop for insurance wisely and compare policies and plans so that you can choose the most suitable option.

There are some categories of people to talk to when finding out about health insurance policies. They include-:

  • Insurance Agents-: This is the best person to talk to especially if you are buying a health insurance plan yourself. Insurance agents work with several insurance companies and as such would be able to help you get rates and quotes from several insurers. Also, they can assist with claims when they arise.
  • Insurance Company Representatives-: Insurance companies have customer service representatives whose duties are to educate existing and prospective clients on the different types of insurance policies and also to offer them assistance and advice. If you find any insurance company that you like to do business with, you can call up their customer care line to ask for quotes and clarifications.
  • Human Resources Officers-: If you are an employee, you could ask for help from the human resources department of your organizations. Human resources officers deal with health insurance issues all the time and would be in a good position to advice you on what to do.

Before you approach these people however, you need to ask yourself some questions. These questions would give you a clear idea of the type of health insurance policy that you need. Some of these questions include-:

4 Questions to Ask Before Buying Health Insurance Policy

  • Are you buying insurance for just yourself or for you and members of your family?
  • Have you ever had health insurance coverage? It may be difficult for you to get good health insurance if you have never had one.
  • Do you have pre-existing conditions? A person with pre-existing condition is someone who has already been diagnosed with a disease before buying health insurance. Such people may not be able to find health insurance coverage easily except through the Affordable Health Care Act.
  • Are you currently pregnant or expecting to be in future? If you are, are you considering travelling to birth your child? Some insurance companies would not cover such expenses.

Now, to compare health insurance policies and plans, these are the steps you should take:

How to Compare Health Insurance Policies and Plans

1. Find out which hospitals or Doctors the insurance companies work with

This is especially important for people who have kept the same doctor for a long time; a doctor who already knows all your health history and records. Now, not all hospitals are covered by all insurance providers and if you choose a health insurance company that doesn’t have your doctor/hospital/ healthcare provider on its list, you would have to go with another healthcare provide.

This is why this is the first thing you have to consider when shopping for health insurance. You should also find out from your healthcare provider; they may have some recommended health insurance companies for you.

2. Find out if the insurance plan covers accepts people with pre-existing conditions

If you or any of your family members suffers from ay pre-existing conditions like Cancer, Diabetes or other chronic illnesses, then you should find out whether the insurance plan would cover for that or not. Although, the Affordable Care Act would ensure that everyone has access to health insurance regardless of conditions but it wouldn’t be in effect until October, 2010. However, until then, you can save money on health insurance if any member of your family has pre-existing conditions by buying separate health insurance for the person.

3. Find out Costs of Premium

Next, you have to look at the premiums you would be paying on the policy. Remember that you would have to pay premiums whether you fall sick or not so in estimating premiums, you should consider the following questions-:

  • How much would the insurance cost you on average every year?
  • How much deductible would you be required to pay? If you choose a lower deductible, your health insurance premium would be higher and vice versa. So you have to decide if you want to choose a lower or higher deductible.
  • Consider your state of health and those of your family members (if you are including them in your plan). If you are in a good state of health and rarely fall sick, you can choose a higher deductible to keep your premiums lower but if you fall sick regularly, this may not be a smart option for you.

4. Find out what the co-pay percentage would be

Co-Pay is usually charged for each visit you make to the doctor. Some insurance plans require co-pay while others do not. Therefore, you should find out if the insurance policy would require co-pay and if it would, what the co-pay percentage would be. Sometimes it’s 80-20 or it may be 60-40. This means that the insurance company takes 80% of the burden while you take the remaining 20% or you take 40% while the insurance company takes 60%.

5. Cost of Prescriptions

If you are someone who takes prescription drugs regularly, you would have to find out if the health insurance plan would cover the costs of prescription drugs.

6. The insurance Companies reputation

Lastly, you have to consider what other users are saying about the company and its claims payment reputation. You have to go with an insurance company that you can rely on to pay claims as and when due. You can get to know this by searching for reviews on the company from other people who are using them. You can also find reviews on the internet. If you are taking employee health insurance, you can ask your colleagues for reviews too.

All of these would help you to choose the right type of insurance policy for you and your family.

Ajaero Tony Martins