Best Health Insurance of 2024

Alice Townsend

Whether you are young or old, health insurance can help you afford the medical treatments you may need, so you can focus on getting better. We’ve reviewed health insurance companies based on prevention, treatment, customer satisfaction, and overall quality.

Is health insurance worth it?

When we are young and relatively healthy, it is easy to put off prioritizing health insurance. However, there is no way to anticipate unexpected health issues and injuries throughout our life, regardless of how young we are.

Health insurance is necessary to help you afford the various medical treatments you may need for illnesses, injuries, and other health ailments. Whether you are visiting the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or making a regular trip to your general doctor, health insurance helps you cover the costs associated with these visits.

Medical treatments, especially emergency treatments and specialist visits, can cost a lot of money quickly. Those who do not have health insurance coverage can easily be saddled with thousands of dollars owed in medical bills. Without insurance coverage, you may not be able to afford the treatment you desperately need in a more serious situation.

Healthcare insurance coverage ensures you are able to get the various treatments you need, when you need them, without having to worry so much about the overall cost. It gives you the peace of mind to know you will be protected in the event of an emergency.

How does health insurance work?

Healthcare insurance typically covers the costs associated with visits to doctors and medical professionals, including your regular doctor, specialists, emergency services, and more.

When you have healthcare insurance, you are required to pay a monthly premium to maintain your coverage. Additionally, you have a yearly deductible you must meet before you are eligible for coverage. From here, depending on the terms of your plan, you are eligible for coverage up to a certain percentage – most commonly around 80% of the costs associated.

Most health insurance provider plans cover your preventive care costs in full. The only thing you may be required to pay during regular check-ups with your doctor is a co-pay, which depends on the services you are receiving and your plan details.

There are four different types of health insurance plans available:

  • Health maintenance organizations (HMO): Coverage for your medical care is limited to the doctors and healthcare professionals in the HMO network, but will often cover emergency services out of network. These plans usually cover preventive and routine care.
  • Exclusive provider organization (EPO): These plans exclusively cover only doctors and medical care specialists within the network.
  • Point of service (POS): With these plans, you pay less when you use in-network care. You are also required to receive a referral to see specialists.
  • Preferred provider organization (PPO): PPO insurance plans allow you to pay less when you use a doctor in their network, and don’t require a referral for out-of-network care. However, there is an additional cost when you do so.

What does health insurance cover and not cover?

Healthcare insurance covers a range of medical issues and treatments you may need throughout your life. These often include:

  • Emergency services: An emergency room or urgent care clinic visit is often covered by your insurance plan.
  • Check-ups and vaccines: Your annual visit to the doctor is covered by your insurance, as well as any shots and lab tests you may get while you are there.
  • Doctor visits: Visits to your doctor when you are sick, as well as medication you are prescribed as a result, are covered by your medical insurance.
  • Hospitalization: If you are admitted to the hospital, your insurance plan will cover the treatments, medicine, and stay costs.

Your healthcare insurance covers a range of issues; however, it does not cover more trivial treatments. Cosmetic surgery and procedures, like plastic surgery or weight loss procedures. Additionally, experimental treatments are also not covered by health insurance. These procedures must be paid for out of pocket.

How are health insurance costs determined?

Your healthcare insurance costs vary depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • Age: Older people who are more susceptible to illness and injury that require medical treatment can expect to have higher medical insurance costs.
  • Smoking: Because smoking can lead to a variety of serious health issues, smokers often have to pay more for healthcare insurance coverage.
  • Location: Depending on where you live, you can expect to pay more or less for your healthcare premium. Areas that have higher costs of living usually require a higher monthly premium.

Additionally, the type of plan you have will influence your healthcare insurance costs. Different plan categories come with varying deductible amounts, as well as requirements for out-of-pocket payments.

When to get health insurance?

It is strongly recommended to prioritize getting health insurance coverage to help you prepare for unexpected emergencies. You never know when you will need serious health treatments that, without insurance coverage, could cost you thousands of dollars.

Health insurance plans that cover dependents allow children of policyholders to stay on their parents’ healthcare until they are 26 years old. If you are in this situation, look into healthcare options, so you can be prepared to get coverage immediately.

How to choose the best health insurance?

There are many different healthcare insurance plans available for you to choose from. Depending on your current job, you may have options to receive coverage directly through your place of work. As you are picking out the right plan for you, consider the following:

  • Medical history: Your unique medical history is indicative of some of the coverage you may need throughout your life. If you can anticipate more doctor visits, or have needs for a specialist, you will want to ensure your plan covers these options appropriately.
  • Overall budget: You can expect to meet a certain deductible and make monthly payments for any healthcare insurance plan. These costs differ for various plans and providers, so you will want to consider what you are able to afford when making your decision.
  • Review out-of-pocket costs: Remember that most insurance plans will require you to pay some level of out-of-pocket costs, aside from your deductible and monthly premium payments. Co-pays, and coverage for treatments out of network can factor into what you pay per year, which you should consider as you make a decision on the best healthcare plan for you.