When you are in the market for individual health insurance, you must do your homework and research several companies and plans before making a decision. This way you can better assure yourself that you are getting a plan that will cover any medical needs that arise without sucking you dry financially. There are several ways to compare health insurance plans from various internet sites to the use of independent agents to simply contacting several companies directly.
You can compare health insurance plans and get rate quotes right here, right now! Simply click this link and enter your zip code for a free list of rate quotes from several providers.
Why is it important to compare health insurance plans before purchasing one?
According to a report from Consumer Reports, dated May 2009, many individual health insurance plans have exclusions and gaps in coverage that consumers are unaware of until they file a claim and find it is denied. Many policies, especially those advertised as “affordable” may come with a price tag that makes them hard to pass up, but when examined more closely these policies may not cover you in the event of a serious accident or illness.
This problem is not limited to little known companies either. Many of the companies considered top insurance providers are guilty of selling policies with gaps in coverage. Most states do not have laws requiring companies to disclose gaps in coverage, which puts the pressure on consumers even more to do their homework.
What should I examine when I am comparing individual comprehensive health insurance plans?
When you begin to examine health insurance plans there are several aspects you should examine closely. You need to look at data and information about the company itself as well as the insurance plan. The following are some questions you should ask when examining this information:
- What types of plans are offered?
- Does the plan you are considering have prescription drug coverage?
- Are your current doctors and specialists in the plans’ network of providers?
- What will your monthly premium cost, compared to what is offered, and what out-of-pocket costs will you may still be required to pay?
- Can you appeal denied claims and how often are denials reversed?
- Will you have a deductible? A co-pay?
- What limits and exclusions are there with this plan?
- How much coverage does the plan allow for emergencies and hospital stays?
One place you may look to have some of these questions answered is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Here you can find everything from helpful information for consumers about different types of insurance plans to complaint data for various companies and plans.
Another aspect to consider is the financial stability of the insurance company. You do not want to decide on a health insurance provider and choose physicians from their network only to have them go bankrupt a couple of months later. A.M. Best is well-known for its unbiased financial stability ratings. Visit them to search for information about the companies you are considering.
I have chosen an insurance company but how do I decide on which type of plan is best?
There are several types of health insurance plans, and you must understand how each of them works in order to make a decision on which will be best for you and your family. The most common types of health insurance plans include:
- HMO – Health Maintenance Organization – With this type of plan you must choose a primary care physician through whom all specialist care must be organized. All doctors and specialists must be in the insurance plan’s network of providers. You may or may not have a co-pay.
- PPO – Preferred Provider Organization – This type of insurance plan allows for more flexibility than an HMO but also typically comes with a higher premium. Doctors sign on as preferred providers. You can choose to see a doctor or specialist within the network of preferred providers or choose to see someone outside of the network for a higher out-of-pocket cost.
- POS – Point of Service Plan – This type of plan combines aspects of HMOs and PPOs. With it, you have a primary care physician who coordinates care with network specialists, but you also have the option of seeing medical providers outside of the network provided you are willing to pay a little more and do the insurance claim paperwork yourself.
- EPO – Exclusive Provider Organization – Similar to an HMO, you must choose a primary care physician with this type of plan who must coordinate all care with in-network specialists only. These plans focus more on preventative care and can have several exclusions if you are in an accident or develop a serious illness.
Now that you know what questions to ask and what to look for you can begin your search for individual comprehensive health insurance. Simply click here and enter your zip code for a list of health insurance quotes to get you started.