There are a number of important factors you should consider before purchasing individual health insurance plans. Ask yourself the following questions to help you decide what type of plan makes sense based on your finances and needs:
- Health Care Needs: The first consideration when selecting a health plan is determining what your specific needs are. How often do you go to the doctor? Will your needs change in the next year, such as starting a family? Are you receiving on-going treatment? Do family members need their own individual health plans to get the coverage they need?
- Hospitals and Doctors: The second consideration is the network of doctors and hospitals in the plan. If you like your doctor, is he or she in the plan? Are the doctors and facilities conveniently located near you? Do you have freedom to see whomever you want?
- Costs: The third consideration is the cost of your plan, and what benefits package makes sense based on your finances. Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans for individuals now have bronze, silver, gold and platinum benefit levels that indicate the level of coverage (and associated costs) the policyholder will have. When considering the options, be sure to see what each plan does or does not cover and what would be your out-of-pocket cost. Before making a decision, consider the various plans’ monthly premiums, deductibles, copays, coinsurance and other expenses. Are you eligible for a federal subsidy or tax credit to help pay for the health insurance?