Buying health insurance outside a job-based plan does not have to be hectic. However, there are a lot of difficult terms involved. This process will force you to think hard about your finances and health. Whether you are picking insurance for the first time or aging out of your parent’s plan, finding the best health insurance plan is the goal. A few tips will help you land the right plan for you.
1. Learn The Health Insurance Terms
To understand the true overall cost of health plans, you need to get familiar with the most important insurance terms. How much can you afford to pay for health insurance per month? Words like deductible, premium, cost-sharing, and copay are used. Insurance companies use these different charges, i.e., the deductible vs. the premium. They might dial down the monthly premium on a particular plan to make it look inexpensive.
2. Know Where To Go
Where to look for health insurance is only sometimes an obvious answer. There are many health insurance providers, and not all will put your needs first. Several plans cover older people, for example, Medicare. This program is federally run. The government pays for most of your health care. You qualify for this plan if you’re 65 years and above or have certain disabilities. For people not qualifying for this plan, you can always look for another insurance plan that covers between 70% and 90% of your premium costs.
There is also Medicaid, a health insurance program for people with low income. The state and federal governments fund it. A person’s eligibility depends on where they live. For everyone else, consider going to health insurance marketplaces created by Affordable Care Act. Apply for financial help depending on your income and pick a suitable plan.
3. Beware Too-Good-To-Be-True Plans Sold Online
The internet has become a scary place. Plans that appear when you Google “I need health insurance” might seem appealing since they are often cheap. However, they might be short-term plans that will not cover basic things like annual checkups or prescription drugs. There are better deals than this type of plan. Many con artists are willing to take advantage of people desperate to get health insurance coverage. Just use the Healthcare.gov portal. Any plan there will cover the ACA’s ten essential benefits, for example, free hospital coverage and preventive care.
4. Think About What’s Predictable About Your Health
The choice could be very simple for a healthy person who is picking between two plan options. You could just ask your friends what they like and sign up through an online portal. However, the choices might be overwhelming if you are shopping in the marketplaces. You need to ask yourself if you just want insurance for a catastrophic event that might happen. Or do you have a health issue you need ongoing care for? If you are pretty healthy, several plans might work. But, if you need a particular ongoing health care, this information will help you narrow down to the best health insurance plan.
5. Know Your Deadline
The deadlines are different if you are signing up for Medicare or an employer-sponsored plan. For Medicaid, you can enroll at any time of the year. For those enrolled in a plan that looks fine and appealing to let it automatically renew, always annually check what else is available. You can always get a better deal than you initially signed up for.