Shopping for health insurance can be a challenge, especially if you have never had to go through the process before. There are some mistakes you are more likely to make if you are a first time insurance shopper. Knowing what they are can help you avoid them.
#1: Not checking for your providers
If you already have doctors or other health professionals that you see, you need to check to see if they are considered an in-network provider by any insurance plan you are considering purchasing. This is especially important if you want to keep all of your same doctors and health care providers. If your doctor is not in the network, then verify how out-of-network doctors are treated by the plan. For example, some plans will cover out-of-network providers at a slightly higher rate, while other won't cover them at all or will requite that you are referred to your doctor by an in-network doctor first before insurance will allow coverage.
#2: Ignoring the payment structure
It can be easy to scan down a list of covered services and assume that your plan will cover all of these completely or at the same percentage, but this isn't always true. Make sure to examine each individual coverage carefully to verify the co-pay amount as well as the total deductible required. For example, some plans may cover routine visits for a small co-pay, but any further treatments will be covered at a percentage or won't be covered at all until the deductible is met. You need to know the deductible, what counts toward the deductible, and your total out-of-pocket costs for the policy for the year.
#3: Not considering add-on coverages
No plan is all-inclusive. If you are young, healthy, and rarely need medical care, a basic plan can be sufficient. For many, though, it is well worth it to look at add-on coverage or umbrella policies. For example, if you take a lot of medication, adding a prescription plan can be a good value. For those with diagnoses that require frequent hospital stays, it can be worth it to look into plans that offer additional hospital benefits even if they cost a bit more initially. This is why it pays to work with an actual insurance company to sort through plans instead of trying to do it on your own – they can help point you towards the policy package that will work best for your unique situation.
Insurance can seem overwhelming, but with help you can avoid these major mistakes.