Things to Consider when Purchasing Your Family’s Health Insurance Plan

Almost everyone at some time in their lives will be affected by unexpected medical expenses. Currently, prices of everything seem to be sky rocketing, and medical costs are no exception. Being unprepared when an illness or accident happens can lead one down a fast road to poverty, bad credit, and bankruptcy. Being uninsured when you are single is bad enough, but when you add children into the picture, you are asking for trouble. Even if your child is never sick, you still have to consider the cost of well-visits and vaccinations. Babies up to one year of age typically see the pediatrician every three months for check-ups and routine care. Are you able to afford those costs totally out of pocket?

In an ideal world, all employers would be forced to offer a benefits package with medical insurance as an option, but unfortunately, that is not the way it is with many. Of course, if you are self-employed, you have to bear the full brunt of your insurance costs as well. The good thing is that there are many insurance providers that now cater to those individuals who have to maintain their own health insurance, and many of them offer competitive rates, depending on what type of coverage you select.

Many people don’t want to change their current physicians, and if you fit into this category, then you should ask your medical provider what types of insurance policies they accept and are preferred providers for, to ensure you get the best coverage at the best rates, and still keep your current physician. If your provider isn’t covered by the company you prefer, you could possibly see about having them added as a provider, or see if they would work with you on an out of network basis so you would have lower expenses.

Managed care plans are often a lot cheaper, but restrict you to their network providers and hospitals. For example, you may work for a company that is based in several locations across the country. The company decides on a particular insurance company based on what serves the majority, but if there are no in-network doctors in your particular location, is that particular policy really going to be cost-effective for you? It is important to always do good research before signing up for any plan, to make sure it will best suit your needs.

Other insurance plans only cover certain services, but not others. If you know that your child will need braces, or possible need to see an allergist for example, does your insurance cover that? If so, are you required to have a written referral from your primary care physician first?

Another thing to look it is how your particular policy is setup. Do you only have to pay a co-pay, then have your physician’s office submit a claim to receive the rest of the bill? This policy often is best for families, as it saves on up front out of pocket expenses. Other policies require you to pay the full medical bill up-front, then file a claim directly to them, and if they decide to cover the expense, will reimburse you at some point in the future. Many people are not able to pay the full cost of their medical visit up front, let alone wait for the company to decide how much and when they will reimburse you for the covered portion.

Many policies also have limits at to the maximum amount they will pay in certain timeframes, usually yearly and lifetime. You will need to decide if the amount offered is sufficient to meet your needs, and whether or not it is worth the money spent.

Everyone really needs to have some type of basic medical insurance, and with all the different types of policies available, it can be tough to select one that is right for you. Often your financial advisor, or maybe even your human resources person at work can help, and you can also find tons of information online as well. Most insurance representative will also be more than willing to sit down with and discuss your options as well.

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