5 Tips for Buying Health Insurance
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. Every month, no matter what health plan you choose, you’re going to pay a monthly charge called a premium. The amount of premium varies depending on the plan you choose, your age, where you live and if you’re a smoker.
But here’s the deal. Choosing a plan based solely on the amount of your premium isn’t necessarily the right way to go. It’s important to think about how you’ll use your plan and what you’ll shell out on medical expenses for the entire year. Here’s some things that contribute to your annual medical costs:
1. Does the plan allow you to use the services you typically use most at a cost that works for you? For example, doctor visits when you’re sick or injured, generic prescriptions, urgent care or even online doctor visits? If you need to meet your deductible before your insurance kicks in to cover these basics, you could end up paying a lot more than you anticipated for medical care by the end of the year. (Insurance speak defined: A deductible is the amount you need to reach before your insurance pays part/all of your medical care. Some plans have services that your insurance pays for before you reach your deductible)
2. What’s the copay or coinsurance amount for the medical services you use most? Those out-of-pocket costs can add up quickly since you pay them each time you get medical care. (Insurance speak defined: A copay is the flat fee you pay when you use a service. The coinsurance is the percentage of the doctor/facility fee you pay, typically after you meet your deductible).
3. Maybe a high-deductible plan is right for you? These plans typically have a lower monthly premium than plans with lower deductibles. If you get sick or have an accident where you need considerable medical care, you’ll be on the hook for all the expenses until you hit your deductible. But if you don’t anticipate seeing the doctor very often or undergoing any big medical procedures, a high deductible plan could be a good fit.
4. Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you like to save for future medical expenses tax free. HSAs allow you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses, but it’s best to ask a financial advisor to see if it’s good for you and how to set it up.
Is your favorite doctor covered by the plan? How about your regular prescriptions? If that’s important to you, be sure to check before signing up. Many plans only cover your medical visits and procedures if you use an in-network doctor or facility, so make sure you’re comfortable with the plan’s network. If you’re flexible though, you could potentially save money by choosing a health plan with a more limited network.
5. And perhaps most importantly, don’t forget to sign up before December 15,, 2017 so your plan will kick in January 1st. It’s ski/snowboard/icy sidewalk/snowman-building season after all and you don’t want your coverage to lapse!
Did you know? Friday Health Plans has plans that offer free doctor visits, free generic prescriptions and a low $75 urgent care copay. Most other insurance companies make you pay for these services before you hit your deductible, which can end up costing a lot of money. But we have plans that give you what you probably need most – and we still cover your butt if you’re in a big accident or get really sick.