If you’re looking to purchase a new health insurance plan, you should be aware of its benefits and limitations. Make sure to ask questions about coverage details, including the number of in-network doctors, what prescription drugs the plan covers, and the network of providers. The best way to compare health insurance plans is to get a quote from at least four insurance companies before deciding on one. Here are some things to look for when evaluating different plans:
In-network doctors negotiate lower rates
If your health insurance plan requires you to see in-network doctors, you may be paying more than you have to. Generally speaking, in-network doctors have lower rates than their non-network counterparts. However, if your plan doesn’t cover out-of-network doctors, you may still benefit from their services, but you will be on the higher-cost portion of the bill. To avoid this, you should first confirm whether your current physician is in-network with your health insurance plan. To do so, you can call customer service or use the online Find Care tool.
While some out-of-network doctors may have lower prices than in-network providers, the majority of them do not. That doesn’t mean they don’t offer excellent care. But in-network doctors can negotiate lower prices for their services. The more doctors and facilities in a health plan are in-network, the better. Out-of-network doctors will not negotiate as much with insurers, and they can charge you more for the same services.
HMOs tend to be the cheapest type of health insurance plan
Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are the most affordable type of health insurance plan. They feature low monthly premiums, no deductibles, and a fixed copay per doctor visit. HMOs generally require you to choose a primary care physician (PCP) from a network of doctors, which funnels all of your health services through that PCP. While HMOs are not the most flexible, they do offer low premiums, making them a good choice for those on a budget and without many health issues.
Another disadvantage of HMOs is the fact that they are limited when it comes to the health care providers they can see. Because they are the cheapest type of health insurance plan, you may be limited to seeing certain doctors or specialists in your network. However, if you visit doctors who are not in your network, you will have to pay the full cost of your visit. This can be a big hassle if you can’t afford an out-of-network doctor.
HSA-qualified plans include tax benefits
If you’re thinking about purchasing a new health insurance policy, consider getting one with an HSA. Not only are these accounts great financial tools, but most HDHPs and high-deductible health plans don’t qualify for the account. In fact, since 2010, out-of-pocket costs have increased dramatically – the average individual deductible in 2015 was $1,318. To help you decide which health insurance plan is right for you, here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your HSA:
One major benefit of HSA-qualified health insurance plans is the tax benefits that can be gained by enrolling in them. HSA-qualified plans are available in most areas of the country, and they can be purchased directly from health insurance companies. To qualify for subsidies, you must shop for coverage through an exchange, and you lose the subsidy if you choose a plan outside the exchange. In most states, the open enrollment period runs from November 1 through January 15 – different deadlines apply in some states. You can also enroll in HDHPs during your employer’s open enrollment period if your health insurance policy isn’t currently HSA-qualified.
Look for a plan with a large provider network
The health insurance network you select will be a huge factor in determining the quality of your coverage and your out-of-pocket expenses. While there are plans with narrower networks of preferred doctors, hospitals, and specialty care providers, members get the most coverage and pay less out-of-pocket when they use in-network providers. However, if you’re unable to find an in-network doctor, your coverage will be severely limited and you’ll end up paying more out of pocket.
In addition to a large network of providers, look for an HMO or PPO plan. HMOs typically have a limited network and charge more when you seek care from outside the network. PPOs, on the other hand, have a larger provider network and a larger selection of providers. PPOs tend to cost more, but they do offer a higher level of coverage.