This is a very subjective question and the answer will most likely vary based on your personal preferences and needs. However, there are some important factors to consider when deciding for yourself who is the best insurance carrier.
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Best does not necessarily mean most profitable, so make sure you look at all the ratings and reviews available for the health insurance company before making a decision. Most health insurance companies are producing a healthy bottom line in this economy so be sure to look at the available options before making a choice.
Where can I find information on different health insurance carriers?
Companies that offer health insurance will differ based on where you live. One way to find out about health insurance companies is to contact your local department of social services and ask if they have information on health insurance companies.
If you are employed, go to your human resources department and ask for any publications that may contain information on health insurance options. Most insurance companies produce brochures highlighting the coverage options available.
These publications often list covered services, co-pays, deductibles, costs, and physicians that accept the insurance. Your options may be limited if you already have a doctor and are planning to continue with that physician even after your coverage changes.
Another way you can learn about health insurance carriers is to ask friends and family members. Find out about:
- Ease of use
- Customer service
People who use a health insurance company are more likely to know the details and benefits involved with that company compared to the information in a promotional publication.
Finally, you can search on the Internet for various reviews of health insurance companies from people. However, keep in mind that in most cases, the only reviews left for health insurance companies are the negative ones, as people who have a good experience are less likely to share. It is better to talk to people who have the insurance coverage and make your own determination from there.
What are some of the benefits that I should look for?
Much of what you should look for with a health insurance company depends on your personal situation. If you are married and have children, then having a plan that takes care of your kids with free well child visit and low co-pays for regular visits will obviously be important.
If you are just starting out in life with your spouse, you may want to look for a plan that covers newborn and maternity care.
If you are older and have medical issues, look for a plan that gives you access to the services you need at an affordable cost. If you take prescription medications, make sure that they plan you select offers some sort of prescription coverage. There are different prescription plans available, and many of them operate with a tiered co-pay system. For example, your co-pay will be $10, $25, or $40 depending on the type of medication.
You may also want to look for a policy that offers dental insurance, especially if you have young children. While more and more businesses are cutting out dental insurance to save costs, dental insurance is still important to have. Some insurance companies offer dental insurance as part of your health insurance plan, while others do not.
There are options available to you if you cannot get dental insurance through your health insurance provider, as several companies offer supplemental dental coverage.
Finally, vision insurance is something that may be important to you, whether you are older or have children. Most vision plans offer an eye exam every two years as well as an allowance towards the purchase of glasses.
Should I base my decision solely on the premium costs?
No, as some health insurance companies may have higher premiums, but lower out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays. It is important to look at the entire insurance coverage plan and compare it to others, rather than simply looking at the premium cost.
For example, you might pay $100 a month for one type of coverage and only $50 a month for another. If you have to pay a higher co-pay for doctor visits, higher co-pay for prescription medication, and not have certain coverage with the lower priced plan, your overall health care cost may be higher. The more expensive premium may actually cost you less in the long run.
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