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Where can I compare health insurance providers?

woman wondering about health insuranceThe Internet has made it so much easier for potential policyholders to compare health insurance providers. Before, you would have to rely on word-of-mouth recommendations or complaints from friends, neighbors, and colleagues, to decide whether an insurance company was a good one or not. Nowadays you can just visit websites like this one to get the “skinny” on a provider in which you might be interested.

We can help you compare health insurance quotes! Simply type your ZIP above!

Another resource you can turn to is a local independent insurance agent. As an independent agent, and not a specific insurance company representative, they will be able to help you compare plans from an assortment of different health insurance companies. However, you will be limited by the companies with which the agent works–they will not have information on a provider whose plans they don’t sell.

How do I determine what health insurance company is the best one for me?

With insurance, it’s all about individual need. The reason there are so many plans, options and providers is because no two people are the same and no two people have the same insurance needs. You will need to determine what kind of health insurance policy fits both your budget, and your health history, and make sure the policy also provides coverage for your spouse and/or dependents.

Many policies will not cover any pre-existing medical conditions. So if you’re switching insurers and have MS or leukemia, you’ll most likely have a much more narrow selection of providers willing to insure you. You may have to purchase an add-on policy or option to your main policy. If you smoke, you’ll find that the majority of health insurance companies will charge you a higher premium than a non-smoker. You’ll want to take these type of things into account when health insurance provider shopping.

Once I pick a health insurance provider, how do I make sure it’s reputable?

A.M. Best Company rates companies in the insurance industry according to their financial strength and their issuer credit rating. The grade Best assigns to an insurance provider as well its outlook for the provider, is a very good way to determine whether a health insurance company is not just reputable, but financially stable. This stability is a good gauge of a company’s continuing ability to pay bills and claims.

You can also look to the Better Business Bureau, either nationally or in the city where the insurance provider is headquartered, to see what grade the BBB gives the provider. This will also give you a sense of any complaints that consumer have with the company and its products.

Of course, you can always look online, doing a simple Google search, for reviews of the insurance company. Just be forewarned that most happy customers don’t write reviews–it’s usually the disgruntled ones that are the most vocal. So don’t be surprised if you read more complaints than glowing compliments.

Can I get any type of discount on my health insurance policy?

If you are currently employed, your best bet is to enroll in your company’s health insurance plan, as employer-sponsored plans are usually less expensive than individually purchased plans. If you are not currently employed or don’t qualify for an employer plan because you are not a full-time employee, you might qualify for government programs such as Medicaid.

Unlike car or house insurance, there are no discounts offered for health insurance for getting good grades or having burglar alarms. The best you can do is qualify for the lowest rates by having no pre-existing medical condition and not using tobacco.

Depending on the plan, you may also be able to lower the premiums by increasing the deductibles. But remember, this could backfire on you if your medical bills are particularly high in any one year.

Is a medical discount plan just like health insurance?

Medical discount plans have become quite a lure for unwitting consumers looking to save money on their healthcare costs. These plans require monthly payments for enrollment, and then just give you a discount on services. They are not the same as health insurance. In fact, the FTC has issued a consumer alert warning consumers to stay away from them entirely.

Having said that, there are some plans offered by reputable member organizations such as AAA, AARP and well-known pharmacy chains, such as CVS, that help members save on their prescription costs. These are free, all a consumer has to do is belong to the organization or sign up with the pharmacy, and they’ll be able to save a small percentage of the cost of the prescription or pay a lower cost for generics.

Similarly, you can get discounts on eye and hearing care through member associations, and you can get cheaper prices on glasses and hearing aids through warehouse stores such as Costco and BJs.

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