Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
With so many health insurance options, choosing a policy that offers the right mix of coverage and value can be difficult. Factors like deductibles, premiums and co-insurance have a significant impact on the amount of coverage you’re eligible to receive. When it comes to picking a plan that works for you, here is what you need to know.
It’s important to understand how costs are built into health plans. First, you should look at the monthly premiums you’re required to pay under a specific plan. This is what you’ll pay for your health insurance coverage, regardless of whether you use any health services. In general, lower premiums mean you have to pay more out-of-pocket costs when you do visit a doctor or receive treatment.
These out-of-pocket costs are referred to as co-pays and co-insurance. A co-pay is typically a flat fee. For example, you might have to pay $10 every time you visit your general practitioner for a checkup, but your health insurance likely covers the rest of the cost. Co-insurance requires you to pay a percentage of your medical costs. Depending on the percentage involved, an expensive surgery might leave you owing thousands of dollars.
The deductible is also an important factor. It’s the amount of money you must pay in a year before your health insurance kicks in. If your deductible is $500, your plan won’t cover your costs until you’ve paid that $500 over the course of the year.
Your costs aren’t the only factors you should consider. Insurance plans have different networks of doctors, and your favorite doctor might not be covered. If you need certain specialists or live in a rural area, you might want to consider a plan with a larger network.
Picking the right health care plan has a lot to do with you. For young people in good health, choosing a cheaper plan with a higher deductible makes sense because you won’t likely need a lot of health care services. If you’re older, in poor health, or need expensive prescription medications, choosing a more comprehensive plan is advisable.
When picking a plan, think about the future. If you’ll be starting a family soon or need expensive surgery in the near future, you should look for plans that offer extra coverage.
Ultimately, health insurance can be a considerable expense. Use this information to find a plan that best fits your needs. Don’t have viable insurance through your employer? Compare and contrast health insurance plans through Marketplace America.
Marketplace America works with the Affordable Care Act to to search the best plan for you and your family, including finding the lowest possible premium.