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6 Tips for Comparing Health Care Plans

The number of options available when you are investigating health care plans can be overwhelming. It can seem impossible to tell which will plan will work out to be be the best for you. However, by carefully comparing the many facets of each plan that you are considering, you can find one that will save you money while giving you access to the service that you need. Use our tips below to analyze your health insurance options:

  1. First, analyze what types of plans are being offered. The most common three options are PPO, PSO and HMO. PPOs, also called Preferred Provider Organizations, give you the most flexibility, allowing you to choose whichever doctors you prefer. However, they tend to cost more than HMOs and PSOs. In an HMO, there is a network of providers who you can see as part of your plan. If your doctor is part of the network for the HMO you are being offered, it could be a good choice. PSOs are the most limited type of health care programs, but sometimes the most affordable. These programs are offered by groups of medical professionals rather than by an insurance agency.

  2. Compare each plan's deductibles and premiums. The deductible is the amount that you must pay before your insurer begins covering your medical bills. You will pay higher premiums to get lower deductibles. If you are in good health and have money in savings to cover emergencies, you may do better with a high deductible plan. However, if you have ongoing medical issues, an insurance plan with a lower deductible and higher premiums may be more predictable and save you money in the long run.

  3. Do some calculations to estimate your out of pocket costs. Is there a large co-pay after your deductible is paid? What are are the current annual and lifetime caps for payment? While benefit caps are being eliminated, some plans still do have them in place while new health care rules are implemented. Factors like these can drive up your annual health care costs, and are worth considering when you choose your plan.

  4. Consider which optional coverages you may want to include in your policy, and how they could affect your insurance costs. For instance, maternity, optical care and dental care are options on many policies. Decide whether these are coverages you wish to seek, and how they will affect your premiums with each of the insurance policies you are considering. Conversely, opting out of coverage that you will not need can save on your insurance costs.

  5. Check out each plan's prescription coverage. How much does the coverage cost, and how much will you pay out of pocket for common prescriptions? If you have prescription medicines that you must take on a regular basis, finding a plan with good prescription coverage can save you money over time. On the other hand, those who do not anticipate needing prescription medicines on a regular basis could save money choosing a plan with slim prescription coverage and a corresponding low premium.

  6. Investigate each plan's emergency room and hospitalization coverage. A low premium plan could leave you owing tens of thousands out of pocket if the plan has inadequate coverage in this area. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the levels of coverage you will receive in the event of a medical emergency.

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