How good your health insurance is depends on your needs. But that’s the rub – how do you know a year in advance what you will need? Haven’t been to the doctor in five years doesn’t guarantee you won’t be in his office ten times this year – there’s a fine art and more than a little legwork to getting a plan that meets both your health and your financial needs.
The first step starts with you – how do you normally use your health insurance? The doctor is on speed dial or you no longer remember his name? Something in between?
What medicines do you take? What services did you use last year? What’s coming up that might make you need to see the doctor?
Next, consider you finances – would a trip to the ER bankrupt you or could you pay a $6500 deductible without mortgaging Park Place? If you are going to need a lot of services, what can you afford each month in premium? What can you afford to pay for the year in deductible? A low deductible with a monthly premium you can’t afford is not a good deal – so think it through and get out the calculator. Likewise, a high deductible you can’t pay and a low monthly premium can still get you in trouble if the guy behind you can’t tell the difference between the accelerator and the brake.
Now consider what’s important to you. Seeing Old Dr. Bob who has cared for you since you were a toddler or just knowing a doctor will see you when you get bronchitis again? Being able to go to the doctor and pay a set copay – or is it okay to pay a percentage instead (coinsurance)? Can you afford to pay for your own services out of pocket until your deductible is met or do you need a plan that pays before the deductible is met?
Before you start signing up for the first plan on the list, make sure you know your needs, your tolerances and what you really want this plan to do. You and your plan will be healthier for it!