Choosing Your Individual Health Insurance Plan

Choosing the right health insurance plan is no light job. There are many things to consider in choosing the one that’s right for you. Whether through an employer, or an individual plan, being able to make an informed decision is key. Below are three important steps in choosing your individual health insurance plan.

Locate a professional health insurance agent

Searching out a professional health insurance agent is the all-important first step in choosing the plan that is right for you. Make certain the person you select specializes in the type of insurance you are looking for. You’ll want to find out about the agent’s background and experience before making your decision. Getting referrals from friends and family members can be a quick way to locate the right agent. Be sure he, or she makes you aware of all your options, and is willing to take the time to ensure you understand them.

Important questions about your health insurance plan

Here are some important questions to consider when choosing a health insurance plan.

1. What is the cost of the plan?

*How much is the monthly premium?
*What out-of-pocket deductibles will I have to pay before my insurance begins to reimburse me?
*After my deductible is met what percentage will my insurance pay?
*Are there penalties for using doctors outside the companies network?

2. What do I need out of my health insurance plan?

*Is the coverage just for myself, or my whole family?
*Are pregnancy related services something I need?
*Do I need mental health benefits?
*Am I concerned with checkups and preventative care?
*How important is choosing my own doctor?
*Do I need a plan that will cover me, and my family when we are away from home?
*Do I need a plan that will cover pre-existing conditions?
*Do I have a chronic condition: asthma, cancer, AIDS, or alcoholism, that needs to be treated?
*Is alternative medicine something that I need to have covered?
*How important is the coverage of prescriptions?

3. Is this a quality insurance plan?

*Have friends and family had good experience with this plan?
*Has my doctor had experience with this plan?
*Does this plan have a low member-drop-out rate?
*How many complaints were filed, by patients with this plan, last year?
*Has this plan received any accreditation from NCQA or JCAHO?
*How has this plan been rated by government and non-government organizations?

Review your health insurance policy

The final important step in choosing your individual health insurance plan is reviewing it. Review your application to ensure there are no errors or missing information. Carefully read your entire policy, making certain everything you agreed upon with the agent is covered. Some policies offer a time frame in which you can cancel the plan. Be sure to read the policy before this period expires.

You should also make a practice of reviewing your health insurance policy at least once each year. If there are changes that need to be made to coincide with changes in your life, your agent can ensure this is done. Health changes as well as age can affect your policy, so be sure to review it often.

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