With the sheer amount of options available, it’s often difficult to choose the right health care policy. You want one that covers unforeseen medical expenses but you don’t want your insurance company to nickel and dime you. You’re not sure about coverage under the Affordable Care Act and are wondering what monthly share of your income your health insurance might take.
You’re not alone. Many in the United States struggle to compare monthly payments, insurance companies, and health insurance customer service. If you’re browsing the healthcare marketplace, here are five tips to narrow down your selections.
Ask if it covers all of your needs.
Even if you’re perfectly healthy, you never know when an unexpected medical bill will pop up. On top of that, you also have to consider ideas like family planning and reproductive healthcare. For instance, if you’re trying to get pregnant via artificial insemination or are considering gender selection, it’s a good idea to choose a health insurance policy that can assist you. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) gender selection are typically only covered by specific policies. Plus, IUI gender selection includes procedures like genetic testing for the embryo, sperm sample analysis during the IVF cycle, you need a wider umbrella of coverage. Patient protection is important as well, regardless of your specific healthcare needs.
Review your budget.
Health insurance premiums — especially if your health care isn’t facilitated through your workplace — can eat up a large annual household portion of your income. Traditional health insurance, in particular, has only increased in cost over the past few years. Even though the health insurance application process is free, that doesn’t mean you’ll find a truly affordable plan. On top of that, the cheapest plans often cover the lowest number of eligible medical bills. Healthcare budgeting is a tricky balancing act.
Think about alternatives to traditional health insurance.
If you’ve ever heard of alternative programs like Medi-share, they’re designed as a part of the Christian Care Ministry non-profit organization to provide insurance to ministry members at a cost. However, there are even more affordable options than your average Medishare premiums that can lower monthly payments. Some of these plans provide health insurance coverage that comes with additional benefits like added allowances for emergency room visits. It’s always a good idea to consider alternative options and find insurance that covers you regardless of religious beliefs.
Turn to your workplace.
Even if you work at a small business that typically “wouldn’t” offer health insurance, it never hurts to ask. If enough employees start asking about employer-sponsored insurance, your company may adopt a policy. This doesn’t have a surefire success rate, however. If your workplace does offer insurance and you haven’t reviewed a policy brochure, request to do so. Whether you’ve recently become eligible or it’s open enrollment, it’s worth it to take a look at your employer’s options.
Factor in pre-existing conditions.
The monthly premiums listed next to a policy may not be indicative of the true cost. If you have a genetic disorder or genetic disease, for instance, this could impact your monthly payments. Some policies are more inclusive of pre-existing conditions than others. If, say, you have a family member with muscular dystrophy who will be included on the policy, it’s a good idea to factor in how much medical expenses and visits with the doctor could impact your overall costs. There are even insurance companies that will turn down individuals with prior existing conditions.
With a bit of health care know-how, finding the right policy becomes that much easier. Your health is your number one priority and your insurance policy should reflect that. Do your best to choose wisely.