What to Look for When Selecting a Health Care Plan

Choosing an insurance plan can be confusing. If you had employer-provided health care and your doctor was in that plan’s network, the process was pretty simple. However, if you retire, need to change doctors or otherwise need to choose a new health care provider, the process gets more complicated. Here are some things to look for when you’re choosing a healthcare plan.

Compare Plan Types

If you’re stationary and don’t do a lot of traveling, a health maintenance organization (HMO) that covers doctors in its network can save you money and could be enough coverage for your needs. Healthcare Marketplace points out that while there is some emergency coverage, you need to stay in plan for full coverage. A preferred provider organization (PPO) plan will cover doctors out of network but has physicians they prefer that you visit. An exclusive provider organization (EPO) plan works only with a particular group of doctors, but you won’t need a referral from your primary care provider. Finally, a point of service (POS) plan will allow you to get some care out of network but requires a referral. Insurance that covers every doctor every time is called an indemnity plan and is very rare.

Look for Cost-Cutting Services

Your health is important to your health insurance company. If you can get in to see your primary care provider and maintain good health, you’ll have a better life, and they’ll have lower expenditures. Additional cost-cutting services, such as prescription plans that allow you to make only one co-pay for three months of medications, can help you out. It’s also a good idea to look for a plan with a nurse advice line. The doctor’s office is a great place to come in contact with sick people and share germs. According to Carenet Health, nurse advice lines offer better utilization of healthcare benefits and resources. You can get your questions answered and avoid exposing yourself to viruses.

Payments vs. Deductibles

High-deductible plans that come with a health savings account can save you a great deal of money if you’re buying your insurance out of pocket. You can save enough to cover the deductible for you and your family in a tax-deferred savings account. If you don’t use these funds, many will allow the monies to roll over. If you don’t use them by the time you retire, these funds can be converted for other uses in many cases. These plans generally have lower monthly payments for health insurance. 

Health care plans can be confusing. However, it’s critical that you have a plan in place during your working life and once you retire, as one health crisis can cause financial devastation if you don’t have the right health care coverage.

Related: What to Look for When Searching for a Healthcare Provider

Simon Greenberg

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