How To Find Cheap Health Insurance
Each and every day, thousands of people throughout the country are searching for a more affordable option for their health insurance needs.
Are you in this position right now? Are you struggling to find affordable health insurance?
Luckily, there are lots of strategies you can use to save money. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to find cheap health insurance.
Know Your Health Insurance Options
The first step to finding an affordable health insurance plan is knowing which options are available to you. The following are some of the different types of plans you might want to consider:
- HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): This plan requires patients to choose healthcare providers from a particular group known as a network
- PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): This plan allows patients to choose any healthcare provider, both inside or outside of their network
- POS (Point of Service): This plan lets you pay less is you choose a provider that’s part of the network; it also requires a referral from a primary care physician to see a specialist
- EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization): This plan is similar to an HMO and requires you to choose a provider from a network; the networks are often larger and referrals may or may not be required for specialists
Consider Your Needs
If you’re unsure of which type of plan you want to purchase, it can help to take a step back and think about your specific needs. While it’s important to find the most affordable plan possible, you also need to factor in the benefits you want to get from your healthcare plan.
According to the Affordable Care Act, every insurance plan must include the following:
- Outpatient care
- Inpatient care in a hospital
- Emergency room visits
- Care before and after your baby is born
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Lab tests
- Preventive services
- Services and/or devices that help you to recover from an injury or manage a disability or chronic condition (this includes services like physical therapy and occupational therapy)
- Dental care and vision care for children
Every insurance plan will include these 10 components. The specific way in which they’re included can vary dramatically, though. For example, a plan might include prescription drug coverage but won’t cover a drug that you need to stay healthy.
Consider the way your unique needs apply to these types of coverage. Keep that in mind when you start reading through the details of what each plan offers.
Make a List of Deal-Breakers
What are some specifics that you need to have in your healthcare plan? What can you not live without? Think about this when you’re evaluating different plans.
Everyone’s needs are different, of course. For many shoppers, though, if a plan and insurance provider don’t check the following boxes, though, it’s considered a dealbreaker for them:
- Primary care doctor is included in the plan’s doctor network
- The plan offers prescription drug coverage for your medications
- The plan includes dental coverage
- The insurance company offers a high level of customer care, including an easy-to-navigate website or mobile app
If the plan requires a referral every time you need to see a specialist, that can be a dealbreaker for some people, too. Not everyone minds seeking a referral, but if you need to see specialists often, this can be quite inconvenient.
Consider Your Budget
Everybody is working with a different budget. Think about your finances and how much you can comfortably afford to spend on health insurance premiums.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you try to spend less than five percent of your annual gross income on health insurance. If you earn $100,000 per year, that would mean spending $5,000 per year or less on insurance.
If that doesn’t seem doable to you, keep in mind that you may qualify for certain types of government assistance. For example, if you’re the only person in your household and earn less than $51,040 per year (and don’t receive insurance through your employer), you can qualify for federal subsidies that help to cover the cost of your insurance premiums.
Compare Before You Buy
To find cheap health insurance, you need to be willing to shop around. In the same way that you need to compare prices at different grocery stores to identify the best price, you also need to compare prices for different health insurance providers.
When you take the time to compare before you buy, you’ll be able to see what each insurance provider offers and figure out which plan gives you the most bang for your buck. Remember, price matters, but it’s not the only thing to consider.
You should also take into account what each health insurance plan offers. What kind of coverage does it provide? Does it include your non-negotiables like coverage for your medications or your doctor in the provider network?
Be sure to factor in out-of-pocket costs as well. This includes the following:
- Deductibles: An amount you have to pay yourself before your insurance provider starts to pay
- Copays: The set rate that you’ll pay for things like prescriptions and doctor visits
- Coinsurance: The percentage of costs that you’ll pay after you meet your deductible
Time to Choose a Health Insurance Plan That Fits Your Budget
Shopping for health insurance can definitely be a daunting task. Making sure you’re getting the most affordable plan possible is even harder. Follow the steps outlined above to ensure you’re choosing a plan that works for you, your specific coverage needs, and your budget.
Of all the tips mentioned in this article, one of the most important to keep in mind is comparing plans before making a final decision. When you get a health insurance quote from several different insurance providers, it’s easier to see which one is the right fit.
HealthPlans.com is a great tool that provides you with access to pricing information from several different insurance providers at once. It allows for optimal price comparisons and helps to streamline your insurance shopping process.
Start your search online, or give us a call by clicking the link above to speak to an agent today!