Choosing a healthcare plan can be a bit complicated and somewhat overwhelming because selecting the wrong plan could mean you’re not completely covered for the services and medications you need. For example, seeking oral solutions in Houston may or may not be covered depending on your insurance provider.
Or it could mean paying more out-of-pocket costs than you can reasonably afford. If you’re in need of a new healthcare plan, use the following five pro tips to help you find the best healthcare based on coverage, affordability, flexibility, and provider.
1. Do Your Research
Before you do anything, research the best healthcare plans available in your area by doing a thorough search online. This can ensure you know all of your options when it comes to getting affordable, quality health insurance. Consider things like which hospitals are covered, whether you can see specialists with each plan, and whether you need prescription medication coverage. Think about your healthcare needs when browsing plans and options. For instance, do you have any underlying medical conditions that require more than just a yearly wellness visit? Do you need prescription drug coverage?
2. Compare Providers and Coverage Plans
Once you’ve done some research and you know what kind of healthcare coverage and plans are available to you, it’s time to start comparing different plans and providers. Consider what type of medical insurance you’ll need. There are several types to consider, including Medicare, HMOs (health maintenance organizations), PPOs (preferred provider organizations), EPOs (exclusive provider organizations), and POSs (point of service plans). If you’re over the age of 65, consider your Medicare eligibility and so you can get the right amount of coverage you need for your individual situation for the lowest possible cost.
3. Consider the Cost
Finding quality, yet affordable health insurance means considering the costs beyond the premiums. Think about out-of-pocket costs like co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance. You can save on out-of-pocket expenses using cost-sharing reductions that lower your copayments or coinsurance, your deductible, and your out-of-pocket maximum if you qualify. With certain Medicare plans, you might not even have to pay these additional costs — it all depends on your income. Once you know how much you can reasonably afford based on your income and other expenses, you can determine what kinds of plans and coverage are right for you.
4. Narrow Down Your Options
After you’ve considered all of the above, it’s time to narrow down your options and make a decision about which healthcare plan might be the right fit for you. You’ll want a plan that offers the most flexibility. For example, look for a plan with large networks so that you have more choices when it comes to choosing doctors. Also, you will need to pay for your prescription drugs. Find the insurance coverage that includes it. For more information on such plans, follow this URL here and know what benefits you can get with drug coverage plans.
If you live in a rural community, larger networks will be especially important because it’ll be easier to find a local doctor that takes your health insurance. Exclude plans that don’t have local in-network doctors, as well as plans with limited provider options.
5. Begin the Application/Enrollment Process
Once you’ve narrowed it down to your top four or five choices, it’s time to make a decision. If you’ve decided to enroll in Medicare, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the application and enrollment processes. That means understanding the different parts of Medicare (i.e., Parts A, B, C, and D) and what they cover, as well as when it’s appropriate to begin the enrollment process. You should qualify for Medicare, as long as one (or more) of the following apply to you:
- You’re a U.S. citizen or you’re a legal permanent resident and have been for at least 5 consecutive years
- You have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
- You have end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
- You’re 65 or older and eligible for Social Security
- You’re under 65, permanently disabled, and currently receiving disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board
Once you’re ready to apply, contact Social Security via phone or online, or go to your local Social Security office. If you’ve decided on a Medicare Advantage plan, start shopping for a plan that suits your needs with a provider that offers superior coverage at a reasonable price.
Starting Your Search for the Best Healthcare
Choosing the right healthcare plan can seem overwhelming at first, but by following the above steps and being thorough in your research, you should have no problem finding a healthcare plan that suits your needs. Start searching for a plan and provider that works for you when it comes to affordability, flexibility, and coverage options.
More Advice on Purchasing Health Insurance
- A Guide to the Various Options for Health Insurance
- 3 Important Tips When Shopping for Health Insurance on a Budget
- 5 Questions to Ask When Buying Health Insurance
- What You Need to Know About Healthcare and Taxes
- How To Choose Health Insurance
- How to Choose the Right Health Care Plan
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, visit Cerebral Palsy Family Network for useful resources.