Health insurance is critical so you and your family can get the care you need. Signing onto a policy shouldn’t be done lightly. Not all health insurance policies are created equal, and there are a few questions you should ask before signing your name on the dotted line.
1. Can You Stay at the Same Doctor?
Say you have been going to the same doctor for years and you explicitly trust them with your health. You have no interest in going to a different doctor if you can help it. Unfortunately, not all health insurance is accepted everywhere. Be sure to look at your preferred doctor’s list of accepted health insurance providers before deciding on a policy.
2. What are the Benefits?
Most health insurance policies cover basic benefits such as emergency services, hospital stays, office visits, etc. Many often exclude coverage for other benefits, however, such as dental, vision and prescription drugs. If you regularly take prescription drugs or need vision coverage, you will want a health care plan that covers these costs. Dental insurance may have to be purchased separately depending on the health insurance provider.
3. How Much Will It Cost?
You don’t need to know only how much your premiums will be, but how much your deductible is, how much you will be paying out of pocket, what your co-payments will be, etc. Compare quotes in your area to find the best deal, and keep in mind what influences these rates. Rates may change depending on the type of plan you have, your age, tobacco use and location. Family plans generally cost more than individual plans.
4. What are the Rules and Limits of this Policy? What About Emergency Services?
Some policies have requirements when it comes to using health insurance benefits. For example, you may have a limited window (such as 24 hours) after visiting a hospital to contact your primary care doctor in order for your health insurance to cover the expenses. Deductible and co-pays are different in emergency rooms than in normal doctor’s offices, as well. They are normally more expensive, and your health insurance policy may not cover every fee and procedure. Your health insurance plan may also require you to go to specific hospitals.
No matter if you are getting your first health insurance plan or switching to your tenth, be sure to ask about your plan to make sure you have the right coverage.