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Comparing Health Insurance Quotes and Plans
One of the smartest- if not the smartest- things you can do before purchasing a health insurance plan, is to request different quotes from different companies and make comparisons. But first, you need to understand the usually confusing insurance-speak about networks, copays, deductibles and the others.
So what exactly should you consider when as you compare health insurance quotes?
Know your priorities.
First of all, make a list of the things that are important for you to have in a health plan. If you would like to continue the relationship you have with your current doctor, ask which insurance plans he or she intends to participate in during the forthcoming plan year. Networks are now getting smaller; what a network was two years ago may not be the same network it is now. Consider this as you compare health insurance quotes.
Don’t just focus on the premium.
A low premium can really be attractive , but you need to know that a plan with a small premium can have a big deductible, which means you may be responsible for a large portion of your own medical bills with each passing year. Before certain types of services are covered, you’ll need to meet the deductible first. Clearly, this is among the biggest reasons you need to compare health insurance quotes before deciding on a particular plan.
Review all potential out-of-pocket costs.
Although different types of preventive care are must now be fully covered at no cost to you, under health reform, you may have to take on copayments, coinsurance (a portion of the total costs) and a deductible for the rest of the services.
Get to know your doctors and hospitals.
Start your research with independent nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which certifies and accredits hospitals and health care programs. Their website will tell you whether a medical practice or hospital has received the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. In the end, you want a health plan, everything else being equal, with a very high-quality hospital in your vicinity.
Consider your prescription drugs.
Also check with the National Committee for Quality Assurance, another nonprofit organization evaluating the quality of medical practices.
When ranking health insurance plans at the state level, Consumer Reports’ website uses the committee’s data on customer satisfaction, preventive services and treatment as basis. When you compare health insurance quotes, don’t forget to see if your prescription drugs are covered in the plan.
Even if it may seem easy to just renew your current plan, you should review your other options, whether in private or through your employer. Be sure to look at the entire picture and not just the price tag. It could take you a bit more time, but without a doubt, you do have to compare health insurance quotes deciding to buy a certain plan.