Shopping for Health Care

It’s getting ever closer to that time that every American needs to have health insurance. Guess what? I’m one of those Americans that is still sitting around and wondering where mine’s going to come from. I am in the process of getting it, but I have a preexisting condition that will make it a lot more difficult for me than it is for other people. Some people have insurance with their job, but what about the self-employed or the part time workers? Yeah, this is going to be a chore.

Here are some tips on how to shop for health care.

Research state policies. Different states have different laws as to whether or not someone can be accepted or denied for health insurance. Different health conditions (including kidney stones in California… odd)  can prevent you from getting cheap insurance. Children cannot be denied for these reasons, but adults still can.

Check out specifics. A plan may have a low premium, but does it do what you may need it to? Some plans only provide the minimum. Here are some specifics.

-          Deductable: This is the amount of money that you pay before the insurance begins to kick in. If you’re paying $50 a month, but your deductable is  $10,000, is that really worth the low cost?

-          Co-payments: How much are these? If you have to go to the doctor regularly and your co-pay is $20, it’s totally worth it, but if it’s $75, is it?

-          Annual out-of-pocket cost: Some insurances keep track of how much you spend, including prescriptions and co-pays. They start to cover everything that is covered by the plan, no co-pays, after this point. How high or low is this?

-          What does it cover? Does it cover any doctor you’d have to go to? Emergencies? Dental? How’s the prescription plan? What about surgery? Cancer? All of these are important to check out.

-          Preexisting conditions: Health care laws prevent insurances from denying you for these, but they haven’t stopped companies from charging people a heck of a lot more because of them.

-          Annual Benefits: Some companies cap your benefits at a certain amount a year.

-          Is it short term or long term? Some insurances only last a year or so, whereas others have you renew annually.

Is public health care an option? There are several programs, including COBRA, which you may be eligible for depending on your financial status, your family size, and other criteria depending on the state that you live in. Also, all children under the age of 18 are required to be covered by insurance, so if it’s causing your family a burden to pay for all of your insurances, check your state’s programs out.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be specific in what you need, what you have, and what you want. Sadly, a lot of insurance companies are just out to make a dollar, and if you don’t pry, you may not get the information that you want or need to have until it’s too late.

How’s that health insurance search going for you? Hopefully better than it is for me! Have a great week and we’ll see you here next week!

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