Health insurance is especially important because of the high cost of health care these days. But the types of coverages available, and how much you pay, can vary quite a bit. Here are some things to think about if you are shopping for health insurance online.
1. Determine the most serious needs for you and your family. These would most likely be whatever could cause the biggest financial disaster in case of injury or illness. For example, do you need broad coverage for medical, hospital and surgical expenses?
2. Determine what other important features of health insurance coverage you need. For example, is it important to have preventative care in addition to catastrophic care? Do you need prescription drug coverage?
3. Decide if you want a fee-for-service plan or a managed care plan. With a fee-for-service policy, you usually pay for the services such as a doctor visit and then submit a claim form to the health insurance company to reimburse you for the expenses that they cover. The amount they reimburse may range from 100 percent to 80 percent of the costs. Also, you usually have a deductible and a maximum yearly limit to coverage. With a managed care plan you become a member of a HMOs, PPOs or POS organization. You receive financial incentives such as no deductibles with these plans and in return you typically must use the doctors and service providers in their network
When you start comparing plans between different health insurance companies consider:
1. The services covered. Does each plan offer the same services, or are the differences something you can live with. (Keep in mind, it's difficult to find the exact same plan between different health insurance companies.)
2. The deductibles, co-payments and maximum limits
3. How pre-existing conditions are treated.
4. If pre-authorizations are required.
Spend time shopping around. Get at least three quotes and ask questions. If you're still not satisfied, look into the possibility of group coverage with an association. Once you have health insurance, it's a good idea to periodically review your needs and make sure you're getting the right coverage for your situation.
Scott Lunt is a freelance writer with over 15 years experience writing insurance-related articles. You can compare health insurance quotes and find more tips on saving on car, home, life, health and long-term care insurance at LowerYourInsurance.com
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