Health insurance helps pay for your and your family's health and medical care costs in the event of an illness, injury, or disability.
Do I Need Health Insurance?
Health insurance is an essential aspect of all of our lives. With health insurance, you and your family can keep up on your doctor checkups, your vaccinations, and you can go to a clinic for sudden flu symptoms.
The importance of health insurance should not be taken lightly, especially considering that without it, a day in the hospital costs $5,220.
Health Insurance plays a pivotal role in our health and our finances, but how do you go about purchasing a plan? How do you know which plan to choose?
What Should I Look for When Shopping for Health Insurance?
Doing research and choosing a healthcare insurance plan for your family can be complicated and frustrating.
Here are a few tips on what to look for and what to consider when shopping for health insurance:
Networks and Plans
The typical types of insurance plans are Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), Point of Service (POS), and Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO).
Most health plans come with a provider network. A network of providers is a group of medical and healthcare providers who are contracted by your health insurance company to assist the policyholders with their medical and health needs.
The network and plan you choose can dictate which doctors or hospitals your insurance will cover. If your doctor or specialist is out of your network, the cost may only be partially covered or not covered at all.
Understanding Tier Levels
Whether you’re shopping with your employer’s chosen insurance company or you’re seeking health insurance through an outside company, you will be choosing from a tiered or “metal” list of policy options.
It is common for insurance companies to offer four standard categories, often referred to as:
The insurance pays 60% of the costs, you pay 40% (after deductible, if any)
You: 30% (after deductible, if any)
You: 20% (after deductible, if any)
You: 10% (after deductible, if any)
These categories are attached to a list of coverages and costs. Although the tiers showcase different prices, they are not connected to care quality.
Health Insurance Costs
The payments that you make are called a premium. You pay your premiums monthly or bi-weekly. Whether you’ve used your health insurance or not, your insurance is there when you need it.
If you need medical attention, your plan may require that you pay a deductible, which is the price you pay out of pocket before your health insurance kicks in. Deductible prices vary by plan.
The majority of insurance plans also require a copay (a flat fee payment) or coinsurance (a percentage amount of the total fee) whenever you see a doctor. Your copay or coinsurance amount is printed conveniently on your insurance card, it covers your portion of the cost for the medical visit or prescription.
How Long Does It Take to Buy Health Insurance?
Once you have chosen your health insurance company and your plan/network, the wait before coverage can begin is typically three weeks. Your application will need processing, and your coverage will usually start at the beginning of the following month.
The underwriting process of a health insurance application takes time, as the insurance company needs to analyze your data to approve coverage and price points.
What Is the Underwriting Process?
Underwriting is when your insurance company takes the time to evaluate your insurance application and medical questionnaire before approving your policy. The underwriting process evaluates the applicant’s medical, financial, and lifestyle information to determine their risks before insuring them.
After the process is complete, you will join the 66.8% of American adults who currently hold private health insurance policies.
How Do I Learn More?
It is best to get advice from a trusted, well-informed insurance expert. Choose a insurance company that has a long history of being trustworthy and dependable with their clients, and prioritizes customer protection and satisfaction when helping with health insurance questions and needs.