Health Insurance – How To Buy(Last Updated On: September 28, 2018 )
Many Americans today have health insurance, and there are many benefits to owning one. However, many will agree that the buying process can be challenging. Nevertheless, there are a few ways to ensure that you have understood what you are buying and that you have got the best product for you.
The buying process generally begins when you confirm that you need to purchase health insurance. It is wise to avoid the individual market because in many states insurers can reject you due to preexisting health conditions.
Well, the best place to begin is at The Kaiser Family Foundation Website. You will get to know if you are losing coverage due to layoff, if you are eligible for several government programs, or have ongoing workplace benefit via Cobra (this is a federal law). What does this mean? Well, the moment Cobra cover runs out, the insurer may sell you another policy according to the federal law. It is important to note that there is no price guarantee and states implement the rule differently.
On the other hand, if you wish to purchase personal insurance; then you should research first on websites that explain the basics. Good website example includes healthcarecoach.com - owned by the nonprofit National Health Law Program and healthinsuranceinfo.net, which is sponsored by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. With these websites, you will get to understand the concept and language (technical jargon) of health insurance. These are things that are not easy to grip, but it is a great start and gives you some sense of questions to ask. Healthinsurance.org does also offer helpful information. However, when there, be careful because there are some insurance quotes from companies selling health insurance.
After research, you should begin looking at web-based health insurance quotes or brokerages. While at it, you should check the following websites; InsureMonkey.com, HealthInsurance.com, HealthPlanOne.com, and eHealthInsurance.com. The good news is that you can get an estimate based on limited unnamed info.
There are some people who choose their health insurance plan based on online research only. However, without guidance, it becomes challenging to understand the distinction between the plans and the way they compare to other options. To get the best, you have to ensure you are actually buying insurance and not any other product like a discount card. The best way to go about the whole thing is by confirming with your state regulator that the company is legit and they sell insurance.
NOTE: be very careful when it comes to limited products like temporary insurance because they have limited set time and you will not be able to renew after the end of that period.
Do not concentrate on premiums when examining policies suggests this therapist in chicago using blue cross blue shield. Look at others such as the percentage of the cost when visiting a doctor. In other words, you should fully understand the policy’s yearly maximum amount (meaning the amount you might spend in a year, because sometimes there are hidden fees). Other insurers will require you to track your own spending and then inform them when you have reached your maximum; which is a headache.
At the same time, it is important to read the fine print of your deductible. This simply means the amount you have to pay before your insurance begins paying. There are policies that have multiple deductibles such as one for each family member. Some insurers may not count certain costs toward the deductible.
Another thing to watch out for is benefit limit. This includes yearly and lifetime maximum payouts. “mini-med” policies that cut their payout can be hazardous in the long-run. This is because you will end up paying thousands of money on bills if you suffer from a major illness or surgery. Other plans may only pay a particular amount per day, which can also leave you with thousands of bills to pay. Drug benefits do not always include every medication.
It is important to note that just because an illness is not in the “excluded benefit” section does not mean it is covered. For example, insurers do not cover treatments that are not medically necessary.
It is wise to review the full plan (also known as evidence of coverage or certificate of coverage), before making the final decision. If you do not understand well, seeking help from professionals or experts is a wise move. Many professional insurers will let you review this document when you have chosen a plan and accepted for coverage.
First-time buyers should consider consulting several independent agents before they commit. These days it is very easy to find an agent. For instance, you may ask friends and family, research, and even though the National Association of Health Underwriters. When it comes to online brokerages, they have people ready to answer any question you may have through phones, and even other means.
It is also wise to check with your state regulator to confirm if the agent has a valid license, have a clean record, and if he is a professional. Remember you are looking for an agent that represent several major insurers and not just one company. You should get to know how the agent is compensated also. Generally, agents earn a living through commissions and for each policy they sell, they receive a certain percentage of the customer’s premium. Commissions range somewhere from 3% to 20%. Knowing this information will help you get an idea if you are getting the best deal or if the agent simply wants to get more commission out of your expense
The insurer should be aware of your financial limit and any health issues. A good sign is if you’re the agent asks you about Cobra subsidy and if you are eligible. Such a plan does not make money for the agent but may be a good option for you.
A good agent should guide you to an insurer that will likely accept you. You should know that if you were rejected by one carrier, you should mention that in your future applications. A good agent should help you fill out the application as well. However, it is important that you should know what is the application and if it is accurate. If you make a mistake, you will be giving the insurer an opening to decline your policy later.
In conclusion, an agent should give you advise and offer other services even after you have made the purchase. If not satisfied, you may change the agent. You may also redirect the flow of commission tied to your plan to a new agent by simply informing the health insurer that you are designating a new agent.