Choosing the Right Health Insurance Plan for Your Budget
Insuring yourself against any unexpected illnesses or emergencies gives you access to help or treatment when you need it. The importance of having the right medical insurance cannot be over emphasized. It has basically become a necessity for every individual to have a good health plan, so how do you find the right health plan for you (and your wallet)?
Treatments and hospitalization can be very expensive, but having the right insurance saves you the trouble of having to pay for your costly medical expenses out of pocket; shielding you from financial crisis and bad debt. With a good health plan, you are assured that your health needs will be taken care of without your savings being drained putting you at financial risk.
In recent years, the health costs have increased, not matching up with individuals’ income. Few people can afford to go for regular health check-ups. Frequent health check-ups are no longer anticipated in-spite of health insurance policy covering such expenses. Cost is a major concern when choosing an insurance plan. Your health is important, so is your financial stability. When it comes to your health, a cheap policy may not be what you want. Taking into account that ‘cheap’ can be counterproductive compared to the extra costs you will incur when you fall sick and in need of special treatment. Nevertheless, there are still ways in which you can minimize the costs of your insurance without compromising your health.
Here are seven things you can do to keep your money in check while shopping for the right health plan:
1. Review your Medical Expenses
Make a comprehensive list of your medical needs and of your family. Calculate your health expenses by approximating how many times you frequent the doctors for check-ups or treatments. Choosing a low premium with no concrete facts may increase your chances of clearing your health bills from your pocket and may prove to be expensive if you frequently seek health services.
2. Shop Around
Health insurance charges differ depending on the plan and company. Similar to when you shop around for car insurance, you may realize that you can pay less for an option with more benefits at a different carrier. When it comes to finances, it helps to compare market averages. Educate yourself on the basic terms of health insurance before you go to the market. Remember choosing the cheapest plan might not necessarily save your money.
3. Don’t Over-Insure
Pay for what you need only. For example; it doesn’t make sense to pay for maternity coverage if you’re post-menopausal. Carefully read through the policies to make sure you select only the things that cover your health needs. If you are over-insured, it means you are paying more for something that you do not need
4. Consider Joint Coverage
If you have a partner, taking a joint coverage is something you may want to consider to share the cost burden. It is advisable to be informed on the pros and cons of a joint coverage before committing however. Challenges may arise if you decide to separate later, so be sure that you’re aware of these stipulations.
5. Adopt a Preventive Healthcare Approach
One of the best ways to save money on your health insurance is to continuously take good care of your health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, watching your diet and engaging in physical activities may cost you money but save you a lot of money in the long term. Observing your health may reduce the high costs involved in treating an illness and reduce the cost of your policy during renewal.
6. Be Careful with Optional Extras
Some insurance policies offer extra benefits on your coverage such as death benefits and critical illness benefits. Sometimes, these benefits are included as standard features, but in some cases they charge extra so you need to determine if it’s necessary for you or if it is something you can do without.
7. Understand differences in policy options
- A Health Management Organization (HMO) is one of the more affordable options. This plan provides you with coverage from within the organization’s network. Those who select this plan have to choose from doctors within the network to have their care covered 100%. If there is a particular doctor that a patient wants to see and they are not within the network, the patient will be forced to pay for the costs in full.
- A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) has a network of doctors and specialists. The organization negotiates rates with insurance companies to provide a low-cost policy to its employees. Unlike an HMO, this plan gives you the option of using doctors that are outside your network with some coverage. This plan does usually have higher premiums though.
- The Point of Service (POS) option gives you an option of accessing services within the organization’s network as well as outside the network. When you visit physicians outside the network, the plan covers some of the costs.
In conclusion, there is no perfect insurance plan or way to insure that you’ll keep your costs low. Different plans may offer different policies, but it does not mean one is better than the other. Health is wealth and what should matter most to you is that your health needs get covered. Cost is secondary.
Guest Post Written By: Michael Rogers is the Director of Operations of USInsuranceAgents.com. During the 5 years of professional experience he gained all the necessary skills and knowledge that now are successfully uses in his managerial positions and educator’s works.