5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Health Insurance

  • How Much Are The Premiums?
  • How Much Is The Deductible?
  • What Are Individual Health Needs?
  • What Type Of Plan Is It?
  • Who Are The Network Providers?

Everyone should know the questions to ask before purchasing health insurance. Health insurance is a complicated, frustrating type of insurance to navigate for many people. Be sure to ask these questions before purchasing health insurance in order to get the right amount of coverage.

How Much Are The Premiums?

With health insurance, as with all other types of insurance, there are two major costs that buyers need to consider. The first is the monthly premium, which is the amount of money the insured pays each month to be covered. A higher premium typically means more coverage or a lower deductible, while a lower premium typically indicates the opposite. Patients without the need of much medical care may be better off buying a plan with a lower premium and a higher deductible. Patients also need to consider their monthly budget when determining how much premium they can comfortably afford.

How Much Is The Deductible?

The second cost element that needs to be considered is the deductible. The deductible is the amount the insured is responsible for paying out of pocket before insurance starts covering services. Some services, such as preventative checkups, are covered before the deductible is met. Typically, the lower the deductible, the higher the premium and vice versa. Patients need to consider their financial stability when deciding on the level of deductible they are comfortable with carrying so they can cover the cost of their care up to that amount out of pocket.

What Are Individual Health Needs?

Every person will have individual health needs, which should be one of the key considerations when choosing a health plan. For example, patients who rarely need to see a doctor can choose a plan that is cheaper but covers less services. Patients who require a lot of care will want a plan that covers more services or specific services that they need. Always look at the minute details of each plan and exactly what it covers before choosing. Consider future costs as well. Patients who know they might need certain procedures in the future should think ahead when choosing a plan so they will have coverage when they need it.

What Type Of Plan Is It?

The type of plan should be one of the first questions to ask before purchasing health insurance. WebMD outlines the specifics: a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan costs less but requires the selection of a primary care provider and referrals to see a specialist. Out-of-network care outside of emergencies is not covered. The preferred provider organization (PPO) is the other major kind of plan. A PPO is generally pricier than an HMO but patients don’t need a referral to see a specialist and out-of-network care is covered at a higher cost. A point of service (POS) plan is a hybrid plan where patients need a referral to see a specialist but won’t need to exclusively pay out-of-pocket if they go outside their network. The final type of plan is the exclusive provider network (EPO). EPO plans do not require referrals to see specialists, don’t cover care out of network except emergencies and are generally cheaper than a PPO.

Who Are The Network Providers?

For people who currently do not have primary healthcare providers, this factor may not be as important. People with existing providers, however, need to consider whether their current providers are included in a plan’s network. The best way to do this is contacting the providers directly to discover which insurance companies and plans they accept. Even patients with a PPO plan should attempt to see providers in-network because doing so is ultimately cheaper.

Related Resource: 10 Best Cheap Health Insurance Companies

The decision of what health insurance plan to purchase is a major one that requires careful consideration. Be sure to remember these questions to ask before purchasing health insurance.