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What do I do if I need new health insurance?

woman wondering about new health insuranceIf you need new health insurance, the first thing you should do is determine what your insurance needs are, how much you can afford, and be sure and write down all of your favorite doctors.

If you are looking for new health insurance, compare health insurance ratesnow by entering your zip code into the toolbox!

There are many options when choosing health insurance, so be sure and receive a minimum of three health insurance quotes before purchasing a plan.

How do I determine my insurance needs?

When determining your insurance needs, you should sit down a make a list. First, you should write down what you liked and did not like in your old insurance plan. This way you can focus on policies that have the elements you are looking for in a health insurance plan.

Some things to consider when determining your insurance needs are:

  • How often you see a doctor
  • Your prescription medication
  • Hospital visits
  • Laboratory tests
  • Emergency care
  • Mental, vision, and dental health coverage

You should also include who is going to participate in the plan. Are you looking for an individual plan, a family plan with children, or a family plan without children?

A good insurance broker or agent will take the time to go over these kinds of needs. If you speak with one who simply wants to sell you a policy but does not ask pertinent questions, you should look elsewhere. Insurance agents and brokers receive a commission, so keep this in mind when shopping for insurance.

How can I determine how much I can spend on health insurance?

One of the best ways to determine how much you can spend on health insurance is to maintain a health insurance file. Keep all of your medical expenses in the file so when you have to get new insurance, you can see how much you spent versus how much the insurance company actually covered.

You should also determine if your monthly insurance expenses from the past were too much or just right. Another great tool for determining how much you can afford on health insurance is by using a health care cost calculator like those found on Money-Zine.com.

With all of the changes occurring in health care reform, you should also take in consideration the changes that are going to be made and how it is going to affect your budget. The Washington Postprovides an interactive tool to determine how you are going to be affected financially.

How can I make sure I can still see the physicians I want to under a new plan?

Before choosing a new insurance plan, you should list all of the doctors you do not want to give up. Verify that they are in-network with any of the health insurance plans you are considering. This way your health care will not be interrupted nor will your patient status. Existing patients often receive priority over new patients when getting appointments.

Should I maintain my old insurance coverage while I am looking for new coverage?

If you can keep your health insurance coverage while look for new health insurance coverage, you should. By law, you should be able to keep your insurance through COBRA, which stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. COBRA information can be found online where it explains that you can maintain your prior insurance coverage with your current insurance company for a maximum of 18 months.

However, through COBRA, the cost of insurance will be higher as you are paying the portion your employer was paying before, but you do not want to be without insurance coverage. When applying for new health insurance, you always have to prove that you have had prior health insurance coverage. If there is a lapse in coverage, this can affect your premium rates or the ability to purchase certain coverage.

Where should I look for new health insurance?

There is a multitude of places to look for health insurance. Besides agents, brokers, and insurance agencies, you can look at state and federal funded programs like Medicare or Medicaid to see if you qualify.

Look at organizations, associations, unions, and leagues for health insurance possibilities. Perform an Internet search of “membership benefits health insurance” or “membership organizations” to find organizations you may qualify for membership or already be a member.

Try wholesale clubs like BJ’s or Costco by visiting the store, calling customer service, or reviewing their websites.

Lastly, many states offer group insurance through an insurance pool. The cost is usually higher than private insurance, but it might be worth looking into if you are having a hard time obtaining private health insurance.

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