There are some questions to ask yourself to ensure you’re choosing the best health insurance plan for you, including:
What will your total costs be? In addition to the monthly premium you pay your insurance company, consider your deductible and what your out-of-pocket costs might look like. “Some people would like to have premiums as cheap as possible and are fine with a higher deductible,” says Turner, while others prefer the opposite.
Are your favorite doctors “in network”? Each insurance company works with a certain network of providers. Before signing up for a plan, ensure that the doctors you want to see are included in the plan’s network. “As a mom, I don’t ever want to have my pediatrician not be in my network,” says Moore. “If you love your OBGYN or your family practice doctor, find out if they’re in network before you sign up, because it can make all the difference.”
What type of plan is it? If you sign up for a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, you generally won’t be covered if you seek out-of-network care unless it’s an emergency. If you pick a Point of Service (POS) plan, you’ll be required to get a referral from your primary care physician in order to see a specialist. The kind of plan you choose will affect your out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re struggling to figure out which plan is best for you, Turner suggests seeking the assistance of a health insurance navigator. These trained professionals can help you figure out if you qualify for any financial assistance and compare plans. To find a health insurance navigator, go to HealthCare.gov and enter your ZIP code. These services are “free, confidential and available to the public around the country,” says Turner.
Another option is to contact a health insurance broker. Doing so is typically free since they’re paid by health insurers, says Moore. “It’s really no risk to you to reach out,” she adds, and it can be a helpful way to feel more confident in your decision.