Health care in the United States is an expensive necessity. Health insurance remains vital to protecting financial security, but buyers must know how to find the best deal for them. Everyone has unique needs, so no plan works best for everyone. Here are some tips for selecting the option that will give the most protection for the lowest cost.
Understand Plan Differences
Health plan categories include bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. The more valuable the metal, the more the plan using its name covers and costs. Additionally, the plans have different options based on where the patient can use their services. These are EPO, HMO, and POS plans.
EPO users must choose medical providers and treatment locations in the network. Exceptions exist for emergencies, but the insurer will deny all other claims from out-of-network providers.
HMO plans also require in-network providers but are more flexible on who they consider in the network. Rather than a finite list, they will often accept claims from any provider within a designated service area of the insured patient. POS plans cover most provider services but offer discounts when using their network of caregivers.
Consider Your Needs
How people use their insurance coverage varies. Some people require multiple prescriptions to treat existing conditions. They may only visit a doctor once or twice a year and do not anticipate any hospitalizations or other medical care. This individual may want to choose a plan with a low monthly premium and a low prescription co-pay with a higher deductible.
Someone with health conditions that require frequent medical treatment or who plans to undergo surgery or become pregnant may benefit from a different plan. A low deductible plan may help them despite the higher co-pays they will pay until they reach their deductible limit. Weigh all potential expenses to determine what choice will cost less overall.
Research All Benefits
Look at discounts and rewards when searching for the best individual health insurance provider. Many companies offer discounts for clients participating in wellness programs or other options. Some have free or discounted gym memberships or transportation to medical visits.
An HSA is available for those who choose a high-deductible plan. HSAs (health savings accounts) allow people to contribute money to set aside for medical expenses. The money funding the savings and any interest earned is tax-free. The owner does not need to use all the funds deposited by the end of the year. The balance remains in the account for later use.
Individual health insurance plans protect the owner and enable people to get necessary health care. Coverage needs can change rapidly. Review the options annually to ensure the best deal each year.