Health Insurance Quotes
Health Quote 101: The Whats and the Hows in Using Health Insurance Quotes
Remember, health insurance quotes are merely a starting point to determine the cost of health insurance each month for you and your family. Quotes are based on preliminary information, but may change during the underwriting process. Furthermore, obtaining a quote for insurance coverage is not a guarantee of coverage.
Getting Health Insurance Quotes
There are several ways of obtaining health insurance quotes, although getting them online is the fastest and most private way of doing so. By getting a quote online, you do not have to share your personal information with anyone over the phone or in person. Furthermore, if you find a plan that fits your needs and budget, you can usually apply for coverage online as well, foregoing the need to visit multiple insurance agents.
Information Needed to Get Quotes
In order to get a health insurance quote, you will need to provide the birth date and gender of every adult and child to be insured on the policy. Online quotes typically do not require detailed health history information, as that is to be included in your application for coverage with the provider you choose. You will, however, be asked about your history of tobacco use, as that is a major determining factor in determining your quote.
Keep in mind it is best to be open and honest about your information when getting quotes. Withholding information to get a favorable quote is useless if you later disclose it on your application. Furthermore, if you knowingly withhold any health information on your application for coverage, it is legal grounds for your insurance company to rescind the policy's benefits at a later date.
How Quotes Are Calculated
There are many variables that may affect your health insurance quotes, starting with the extent of benefits you are applying for. Plans that offer the most comprehensive health coverage cost the most. Similarly, low deductibles, coinsurance and plan co-pays can drive up the cost of your monthly premium.
Each health insurer uses different criteria to determine whether applicants qualify for coverage during the underwriting process. Those who do qualify may have the same health policy at varying monthly premiums. For example, if you have a high body mass index or a history of tobacco use, you may pay a higher monthly premium than a non-smoker at a normal weight due to an increased health risk profile.
How Accurate Are Quotes?
Quotes are merely estimations of the cost of coverage and are never guaranteed. However, they are usually quite accurate. Every insurer uses different rating systems to grade applications for health coverage. In some cases, instances of prior health complications, such as a record of depression or high blood pressure, may lead to higher monthly premiums.
You will not know the final cost of your monthly premiums until your application for coverage completes the underwriting process. At that time, your application will either be approved with no rate increases, denied with any pre-paid premiums refunded, or coverage may be offered at a higher cost. The increase in final premiums over the original amount quoted represents the value of the increased risk the insurance company perceives in covering your medical expenses.
If you have a history of health conditions or an existing condition that you think may cause your rates to rise or your policy application to be denied, be careful with which insurer you apply for coverage. Depending on the plan and insurer you select, you may be required to pay a health insurance application fee to cover the costs of reviewing your eligibility for coverage. Usually, application fees are non-refundable, regardless of whether you are approved for coverage. Instead, look for plans without application fees.
Remember, though you may pay an application fee, you should never be asked to pay a fee to obtain a health insurance quote. Also, keep in mind that the most affordable quotes are not always the best. Although it is important to find health insurance coverage that fits well into your monthly budget, eliminating benefits to save money upfront could end up costing you much more money in out-of-pocket medical expenses in the future.