November 8, 2018

Helpful Tips for Changing Your Health Insurance

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated November 8, 2018

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Choosing new health insurance can be confusing. It’s hard to find the perfect plan, but by asking yourself some basic questions you can start the process of finding the coverage most appropriate for you and your family. Here are some important factors to consider.

Perhaps the first place to start is with your employer. You may have access to group plan coverage that offers a different set of benefits than your current insurance. Ask your company’s HR department if you can switch. Even if you do not have coverage available through your employer, you may explore the possibility of joining a nonprofit group plan that is community-run.

You may want to discuss your health insurance with a broker. Just like with other kinds of insurance, a health insurance broker can enroll you in a plan. Health care insurance brokers must be licensed. However, they receive commissions for the plans they sell and may only recommend plans offered by certain private companies.

Knowing exactly what kind of health coverage you need is perhaps the most challenging part of reviewing your health plan. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Will my doctor take this insurance?
  • What is the cost of premiums?
  • What is the deductible?
  • What services are subject to a copay?
  • Do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Do I qualify for a subsidy or tax credit?

In general, a plan with lower monthly premiums will have higher out-of-pocket costs when you do access health care. This may be fine if you rarely use your coverage. And there are strategies you can use to manage your care when you have high deductibles.

However, if you have a chronic condition, take expensive medications, are expecting to become pregnant, due for surgery, or frequently go to the emergency room, you may want to choose a plan with a higher monthly cost but lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Some individuals buying their own coverage may qualify for a tax credit or subsidy. This is something you may want to ask about if overall costs are a concern.

There are many unknowns when it comes to health insurance, including what your medical needs may be in the future. Choosing the right coverage comes down to a reasonable assessment of what’s right for you and your family’s overall wellbeing. By taking the time to think it through, you can make a reasonable choice.

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