Medical insurance is definitely one of the most important products in the lives of most people. Basically, this is the insurance for the cost of medical treatment of an individual in case of him/her getting ill and injured. Even though many companies pay for the medical insurance coverage of their employees, there are still many individuals and families who have to purchase medical insurance on their own.
If you are not one of such lucky employees, you should seek a worthwhile medical insurance for yourself. First of all, you should start the search process by selecting a public marketplace of a state where you will look for the insurance. Make sure to research this well enough, as premiums may vary significantly on different marketplaces.
Then, you should compare different types of medical insurance plans. At this stage of research, you are likely to encounter countless abbreviations, such as POS, EPO, PPO, or HMO plans. Depending on which type of medical insurance you will choose, that will determine the out-of-pocket costs you will face in the future and what doctors you will be able to see.
Whenever you get to compare the medical insurance plans, you should look at the summary of benefits and the plan’s cost – these are the two most important factors. Also, pay attention to the provided directory, which lists all the hospitals and doctors participating in that network. You should try to take into account the medical costs you have incurred in the past, as it will help you to forecast possible medical expenses in the future and, thus, choose the most suitable medical insurance plan.
Typically, POS or HMO medical insurance plans require referrals, which means that you should see a general practitioner before being referred to the specialist. That is exactly why many people prefer to choose other medical insurance plans. Nevertheless, HMOs tend to be the cheapest medical insurance plans out there.
Once you have chosen a medical insurance plan, you have to compare the health plan networks, too. If a certain hospital or doctor is in the network of your health plan, that means that your insurance provider has a contract with that hospital/doctor and, thus, you will pay the lower proportion of the costs. However, if a doctor or hospital you visited isn’t a part of the network, you are likely to face a higher cost proportion.
So, if you have a preferred doctor and you would like to keep seeing him/her, make sure that that doctor is in the directory of your new medical insurance plan. Besides, you can ask a doctor whether he/she accepts a particular health plan provider. It is especially worth to point out that one has to carefully pick an insurance plan in rural areas – it is harder there to find a doctor who would accept a particular medical insurance plan.
At the end, you should always compare benefits and out-of-pocket costs of your medical insurance plan against other alternatives. The summary of benefits of any insurance plan should display how much you will have to pay out of pocket for particular services. Yet, usually it is so that the lower the premium is, the higher the proportion of out-of-pocket costs gets.