How to Select a Health Insurance Plan
From the unfamiliar terms to the vast range of options, choosing a health insurance plan can seem like a daunting task… But it doesn’t have to be! Whether you receive insurance from your employer or a private provider, follow these steps to select the best health insurance plan for your family.
It’s a good idea to choose one of the plans your employer (or your spouse’s employer) offers because your premiums are likely to be much lower. However, you can also purchase a plan directly from an insurance company. If you choose one of these plans, you won’t be eligible for premium tax credits. You can find available health insurance providers on healthcare.gov.
Next, compare the plans available to you. Look for a summary of benefits and a directory of all doctors and clinics covered. The most common types of health insurance policies are HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), PPO (Preferred Provider Organization), EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization), and POS (Point of Service Plan). Each type of plan has different limitations for which providers are covered and if certain procedures or specialists require a referral. If your family has certain doctors you’d like to keep seeing, make sure that these doctors are covered by your potential plans. Your employer or the health insurance company can provide a quick glance at the main points of each type of plan.
Consider the out-of-pocket costs. Generally, the lower your premium, the higher your out-of-pocket costs. Of course, it is impossible to predict what could happen in the future, but examine your family’s medical history for a good idea of what coverage you may need. If you frequently see a doctor (for emergencies or chronic conditions), take expensive medications, or are expecting a baby, a plan with higher monthly premiums may be right for your family. If you are in good health and rarely see a doctor, or just want to avoid the higher premiums each month, a plan with higher out-of-pocket costs could be a better choice.
If you have any questions, call the providers’ customer service lines or do an internet search. Though there are lots of health insurance plans to choose from, the most important thing is to make sure your family is protected. Consider the highlights of each plan and choose the one that will serve your family best. Good luck!