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How to Compare Health Insurance Quotes and Plans

One of the wisest – if not the wisest – steps you can take before buying a health insurance plan, is to ask for several quotes from different companies and compare them. However, you must first cut through the typically confusing insurance-talk about coinsurance, networks, deductibles, and all the rest.

So what do you have to think about when you compare health insurance quotes?

Know what’s important to you.

First of all, make a list of the things that are important for you to have in a health plan. If you would like to continue the relationship you have with your current doctor, ask which insurance plans he or she intends to participate in during the forthcoming plan year. The networks are becoming smaller; a network two years ago will not be the same today. When you compare health insurance quotes, always take this into account.

Don’t just focus on the premium.

Yes, a low premium can be very tempting, but know that a plan with a low premium may come with a high deductible, possibly leaving you responsible for a good chunk of your own medical bills every year. You’ll need to meet the deductible before several types of services can be covered. Clearly, this is among the biggest reasons you need to compare health insurance quotes before deciding on a particular plan.

Review all potential out-of-pocket costs.

Even if a lot of preventive care types should be fully covered now at no cost to you, health reform dictates that you may possibly have to pay copayments, coinsurance (a part of the total costs) and a deductible for the other services.

Get to know your doctors and hospitals.

Start your research with independent nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which certifies and accredits hospitals and health care programs. Their website will let you determine whether a hospital or medical practice has been awarded the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. In the end, you want a health plan, everything else being equal, with a very high-quality hospital in your vicinity.

Think about your prescription drugs.

You can also check with the National Committee for Quality Assurance, another nonprofit that reviews medical practices.
When ranking health insurance plans at the state level, Consumer Reports’ website uses the committee’s data on customer satisfaction, preventive services and treatment as basis. When you compare health insurance quotes, don’t forget to see if your prescription drugs are covered in the plan.

Shop around!

Though it may seem easy to simply renew any plan you presently have, you need to review any other, possibly newer options available to you, whether through your employer or privately. Be sure to look at the entire picture and not just the price tag. It could take you a bit more time, but without a doubt, you do have to compare health insurance quotes deciding to buy a certain plan.

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