You’ll learn the steps to take when choosing the right health insurance plan and help you thoroughly examine your options. Here are 5 steps to help you.
If your job offers health insurance, you can skip this step unless you want to look for an alternative to the plan your employer offers. However, keep in mind that health plans within the marketplace might be priced higher than through your job.
Otherwise, you’ll want to choose a health plan marketplace. Start by heading over to HealthCare.gov during the open enrollment period and enter your ZIP code. After that, you’ll be directed to the exchange for your state unless there is none. In that case, you can use the federal marketplace.
Optionally, there are health insurance plans available directly through an insurer or on private exchanges. However, when you chose that option, you forego your eligibility for premium tax credits.
Next, you’ll want to compare the various types of health insurance plans available.
Since these plans require your primary care physician to coordinate your care from other providers, POS and HMOs are great for taking the guesswork out of choosing specialists. Conversely, if you want the freedom to choose your specialists, you might be happier with a different plan.
If you live in a rural area with not many providers to choose from, you might have no choice but to visit providers outside the network. In that case, you might prefer a PPO because out-of-network costs are lower than in other plan types.
A high-deductible Health Plan (HDHP) can refer to any health insurance plan- POS, PPO, EPO, or HMO. With an HDHP, you might have a lower insurance premium, but you might pay more out-of-pocket.
When using an HDHP, you are qualified for an HSA- an account with tax advantages.
Remember that you pay less when you see an in-network physician because the insurance company has a contract with the provider that requires them to provide care to network members at a lower cost. If you visit an out-of-network provider, the provider does not have such a contract.
Next, inspect the summary of benefits for the plan you are considering for a detailed overview of out-of-pocket fees for services.
You’ll want to pay attention to the coinsurance, deductibles, and copayments as well. These terms indicate your costs for treatment and your out-of-pocket spending limit.
Typically, plans with lower copays have higher monthly premiums. These plans work well for those who:
If no one in your family fits the criteria above, you might want to select a plan with lower monthly premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs.
If you have not decided upon a plan yet, your next step is to compare the benefits available from the plans you are considering.
When comparing plans, pay attention to the summary of benefits and look at which providers are a part of the plan’s network.
Consider your family’s healthcare needs and history of care so you can make an informed decision.
After these considerations, if you still have not decided upon a plan, consider calling the customer service line for the plans you are considering and asking about:
H-4 visa holders are not obligated to buy health insurance through the marketplace, but they are not qualified to receive Medicaid or Medicare benefits, either. Since emergencies can happen at any time, H-4 visa holders should purchase a health insurance plan.
This is vital to the H-1B visa holding family member’s status, so ensure you choose a plan that:
If your spouse holds an H-1B visa, they may or may not be able to cover the H-4 visa holding family members. If your spouse can cover you on their insurance, make sure you know everything you need about waiting periods and additional costs related to being an H-4 visa holder.
CDHP stands for Consumer-directed Health Plan. CDHP is great if you don’t frequently need medical care because they are a flexible way to save for your health care and pay for healthcare services.
Legally, insurance companies are allowed to charge up to 50% more for health insurance for smokers. While not all states enforce the law, smokers should read the fine print of any plan.
Visit your marketplace and look at the plans available.
The key takeaway is that choosing the right health insurance plan is essential for your family, but you can simplify the process by following the step-by-step guide in this post.