Published: 06/29/2011 by Bonnie Conrad
Finding the right health insurance fund is no easy task. There are many things to consider, from the cost of the monthly premium to the size of the initial deductible. Evaluating your own health care expenses and comparing each policy carefully is the best way to get the most health insurance coverage for your limited budget. As with all kinds of insurance, it pays to be an intelligent, skeptical and informed consumer when shopping for a new health care fund.
Know Where You Stand
Gather all documentation related to your health care spending for the past year. If you have records going back more than a year that is even better. Add up all of the costs of your care, including deductibles, co-payments, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and medical devices.
Check With Your Employer First
Review the list of options provided by your employer if you are eligible for a group health insurance plan. In most cases a group health plan will be less costly than a plan purchased on the individual market. Check the deductible on each plan, as well as the monthly premium and the required co-payment.
Review Your Coverage Options and Networks
Log on to each company's website and check the list of participating physicians, hospitals and health care clinics. Many health funds pay much less, or do not pay at all, if you use an out-of-network provider, so making sure your own providers are in-network is critical.
Shopping on Your Own
Check out the website maintained by the National Association of Health Underwriters at NAHU.org and use the "Find an Agent" link to shop for individual health insurance plans. Contact each of the agents listed on the site to discuss what you need in a health fund.
Compare Coverage and Cost
Compare the monthly premiums for each plan the broker recommends. Look at each of the plans side-by-side so you can see the deductible, co-payment and out-of-pocket maximum for each plan. Use this information, along with information about your typical health care spending, to find the best plan for your needs.