6 Tips on how to get health insurance
How to get health insurance? It can be quite challenging, especially if you have pre-existing conditions, live in an area with limited healthcare options, or don’t have the money to cover premiums and co-pays. Luckily, there are ways to get health insurance even if you have one or more of these issues! Here are 6 ways to get healthcare that will work no matter what obstacles you face.
1) Understand your options
Before you can even think about getting health insurance, you’ll need to understand your options. The first thing you should do is figure out what type of coverage you need: Is it better for you and your family to purchase an individual plan? Or will a group policy be more beneficial (maybe through your employer)? Once you know that, it’s time to educate yourself on what other details factor into buying health care plans.
For example, how much does each option cost? What are my deductibles and co-pays? How much does each option cover? What are my specific needs when it comes to health care coverage do I have any pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses that might require special attention from my insurer? How long do I want my plan to last? How much am I willing to pay per month in premiums? How old am I? These questions are just a few of many things you’ll want to consider before purchasing a new health care plan.
It may seem like a lot of work, but once you take a step back and really evaluate all your options, it won’t seem so overwhelming. And once you’ve done all that research, you’re ready to start shopping around.
You’ll also want to keep track of how these plans differ from one another as you look at different providers; that way if something catches your eye with one company, you can quickly cross-reference it with others to see how they compare.
Remember: When comparing health care plans, price isn’t everything. You don’t necessarily have to choose the cheapest option—but make sure whatever you decide upon is right for your unique situation.
2) Know your budget
Health care is expensive. Be sure you know your budget so you don’t end up with a payment plan you can’t afford or are in debt to your hospital. You should also know your deductible, which is a fixed amount of money you must pay before an insurer will start paying for things.
For example, say you have a $500 deductible, and then your health plan pays 80 percent of what it costs, but that still leaves $300 for you to pay out-of-pocket. If you had surgery costing $5,000, you would owe 20 percent ($1,000) after your deductible was met. And if you had another procedure costing $2,000? Your total bill would be $3,000—and since your plan only covers 80 percent of those costs (minus any co-pays), you’d be responsible for 20 percent ($600).
If these numbers seem confusing or overwhelming at first glance—don’t worry! It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed by all of the information when you first start shopping around for coverage. The most important thing is that you take your time and understand how each policy works.
But here are some basic guidelines: A high deductible means lower monthly premiums, while a low one means higher monthly premiums. A high premium means lower annual deductibles, while a low one means higher annual deductibles.
A higher percentage of covered expenses means lower copayments, while a lower percentage means higher copayments. A high out-of-pocket maximum means more flexibility if you get sick or injured; a low one limits how much you could spend during a year.
Finally, make sure you check how many network doctors and hospitals are included in your plan. That way, if something happens while you’re traveling or moving away from home, you won’t be left scrambling to find a doctor who accepts your insurance.
Read Also: What is renters insurance
If you need help understanding how to pick a good plan, contact your state’s insurance department. They may offer free counseling services or run their own marketplace where you can shop for plans.
3) Make an informed decision
Before you make any decisions, do your research. Read up on what types of plans are available and how much they’ll cost you.
Then, when you meet with an agent or visit an online portal, you’ll have a solid idea of what to expect. This is especially important if it’s your first time buying health insurance. These tips will help ensure that getting coverage is as easy as possible.
Things You Need to Know About Getting Health Insurance
1. Your doctor might not be in-network: The best doctors might not be part of your plan, so always check ahead before scheduling any appointments or procedures.
2. Premiums aren’t set in stone: When you sign up for a new plan, premiums may seem high—but once you compare quotes from different companies, chances are good that rates will drop considerably (sometimes by 50 percent).
3. Dental care isn’t included: Dental care isn’t covered under most standard health insurance plans, but it can usually be purchased separately. If you need dental work done right away, consider asking your dentist if he or she offers a payment plan.
4. Coverage doesn’t begin immediately: Most plans require that you wait 30 days after signing up before benefits kick in; some even require six months to a year before coverage begins. Be sure to ask how long you’ll have to wait before coverage kicks in.
On average, people who carry dental insurance spend only 25% of their total annual premium on preventive services such as cleanings and exams.
After comparing costs for thousands of patients across multiple cities, we found that people who use Delta Dental save an average of $115 per person per month versus those who don’t have Delta Dental.
That’s over $1,500 each year! Here are some more ways you can take advantage of our competitive rates: Save with an employer-sponsored plan: If your employer offers a dental benefit program, chances are good that you’ll be able to lower your out-of-pocket expenses by contributing a portion toward your premiums and deductibles.
4) Research available plans
There are many different options for insurance coverage, so your first step should be to research your options. Begin by deciding if you want to stick with what you already have or find a new policy. If you’re looking for individual coverage, visit HealthCare.gov and type in your zip code.
You can also go through an agent who specializes in helping individuals shop for their own plans or look at plans offered by private carriers like UnitedHealth Group or Aetna.
If you’re interested in group insurance, such as that provided by your employer, talk to your human resources department about how to sign up. It may also be possible to purchase additional policies from other companies as well just make sure you read all of the fine print before making any commitments. (If you have Medicare or Medicaid, those will not count toward your health insurance requirement.)
Remember: The earlier you start shopping around, the more time you give yourself to consider your options. That way, when open enrollment season rolls around again next year (in November), you’ll be ready to act. And speaking of action…
You might need to take some extra steps. Although there are several state-based exchanges available where people can compare and buy insurance, there is still no option for people living in states that did not set them up themselves. In addition, many employers do not offer enough hours to qualify for subsidies under Obamacare.
So even though it might seem like a good idea to wait until later in the year to enroll, it’s best to think ahead now and see what you can do right now. For example, you could work extra hours during summer break to get close to qualifying for a subsidy.
Or perhaps working part-time would allow you to afford more comprehensive coverage than your current plan offers. Finally, keep in mind that although opening enrollment only lasts six months out of every 12, most people won’t experience major changes in their life circumstances over that period.
For example, if you’re paying off student loans or saving up money for a house down payment, these things don’t happen overnight; they take time.
5) Buy Online (where possible)
Buying your coverage online is quick and easy, but be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. While many websites offer comparison tools that let you compare prices, some of them don’t include all of a provider’s options or cover every part of your state (or country), so it’s always worth checking in with your carrier directly before making a decision. Learn more about Life Insurance
If you do end up buying through an agent or broker, make sure he or she isn’t getting paid by a particular company for sending businesses it’s the way, and make sure that person has your best interests at heart! There are horror stories out there about brokers steering clients into more expensive plans when cheaper ones were available.
You can also check if your employer offers any kind of health insurance plan; even if you have other options, it might still be worthwhile to see what’s available from work first. Your union might also be able to help you negotiate a better deal. And remember: whatever route you go down, do not underestimate how important shopping around is.
This field changes quickly and drastically from year to year, so never assume that because something was true last year it will hold true today.
Also keep in mind that some parts of your coverage may vary based on where you live: U.S.-based policies will differ depending on whether they’re issued within California or New York State, for example.
So while one policy might cost $300 per month in one place, another policy could cost $500 per month just 50 miles away. That said, if you’re under 30 years old, definitely look into buying a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) instead of comprehensive insurance.
It’ll save you money and give you greater control over how much money you spend on healthcare overall.
6) Consider your current coverage
Before you can apply for individual health insurance, you’ll need to know what your current coverage is. You may already have some coverage through your employer or a partner.
You can consider switching over to an independent plan if it’s less expensive, but also check if there are any stipulations—like preexisting conditions that wouldn’t be covered under a new plan. If you don’t have any existing coverage, see if your state offers a public option. If not, see how much private plans cost in your area and start shopping around.
The Affordable Care Act makes it easier than ever to shop around for health insurance. In most states, all you need is an email address and a Social Security number; after filling out a few questions about your age, location, family size, and tobacco use (if applicable), you’ll receive options from multiple insurers at once. Most plans include preventive care, prescription drug coverage, and hospitalization.
Some will even cover more specialized care like dental work or mental health services. After choosing a plan, you’ll pay your premium directly to your insurer each month. Then you can schedule doctor visits and fill prescriptions as needed with no co-payments required.