In these tough times, securing a health insurance plan that works for you is a tough balancing act. On one hand, you might not be able to afford the most comprehensive plan because of your tight budget. On the other hand, you have to have health insurance to shoulder the cost of any medical expenses that will inevitably arise in the future.
So, what should you do in this Catch-22 situation? Well, start looking for an affordable insurance plan that meets your needs and budget, of course. Here is how to start the process.
Do Your Research
With the wide array of health insurance products offered by many companies, it really pays to do your research about your options. After all, it is your money and your health care at stake.
- First, you have to determine your health insurance needs and your budget to finance said needs. There are many types of health insurance such as the Fee-for-service plans, Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Point-Of-Service Plans (POS), and the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), each one of which has its own advantages and disadvantages:
- Second, you have to determine the company you want to invest your money in, so to speak. Of course, the type of insurance you chose will narrow down your choices of companies.
It is a good idea to do your research on the financial stability and liquidity, track record in the industry and compliance with insurance laws of the short-listed companies via government agencies like the Department of Insurance and trade journals. This is an important step especially in light of many insurance companies folding under the pressures of the recession.
When you have chosen the top five companies in your short list, it is time to do value comparisons.
Do A Value Comparison
Assuming that all the companies are on equal footing in terms of financial stability and legal compliance, the next step is to evaluate the health insurance plans offered by each company. The criteria will focus on premium payments, extent of coverage, amounts of deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance, choice of physician and hospital, and prior authorization requirements, to name a few.
Now, assuming that all other provisions are favorable in your estimation, with the premium rates and other initial payments as the final deciding factor, then it makes sense to choose the health insurance plan within your budget. After all, you will be paying for almost the same services at a lower price, which is indeed an excellent deal.
Your research and value comparison need not take hours and hours of your time hopping from one office to the other, logging on the online sites of many insurance companies, and talking to insurance agents. Nowadays, the Internet has made life easier for individuals looking for affordable but quality health insurance plans.
To be specific, these online sites offer health care plan quotes from many reputable companies depending on the insurance requirements entered into the appropriate fields. You need not waste time on the previously mentioned types of comparison shopping simply because these sites are akin to a one-stop shop for health insurance plans.