Tips for Purchasing Individual Health Insurance

I’m always searching for the latest in health insurance news and lately all you can find are complaints about the Affordable Care Act.  Isn’t there anything else going on with health insurance companies?  Whether you are for or against President Obama’s health insurance reform, give it a chance to work before really judging it’s effectiveness.  For those Americans who are trying to compare health insurance policies so that they can comply with the individual mandate, there are insurance options both in and outside of the exchanges.  In U.S. News & World Report’s “8 Keys to Picking the Best Individual Health Insurance Policy,” Megan Johnson and Steve Sternberg offer helpful information to consumers.  Their goal is to help you save money on your health insurance policy as well as find a plan that will meet all of your health care needs.

One of the first things you should do is determine your personal must-have list.  The Affordable Care Act mandates dozens of preventative health services that must be covered.  In addition to those, make sure to add maternity coverage, vision insurance, or any other specific coverage that you think you may need.  Do not buy more coverage than you will need.  Although you can’t anticipate exactly how your future will play out, you could save a lot of money by increasing your deductible if you are healthy overall.  If you have specific doctors that you know you want to continue seeing, make sure that they are covered in your network before purchasing a health insurance plan.  It rarely make sense to see an out of network doctor because the costs are so high.  Find out exactly what your out of pocket costs are going to be.  This includes premiums, coinsurance, and co-pays  These costs are listed up front from insurers.

For people who have constant or lifelong prescriptions, it’s crucial to confirm that your medicines are covered by an insurance plan.  Individual health insurance plans have been putting annual limits on coverage for a long time, but that will be disappearing soon.  Before all plans follow the new criteria, check your annual coverage limits and see if your insurance company has applied for any waivers to avoid eliminating their limits.  Dependents are allowed to stay on their parents’ insurance plans through the age of 26 now, so factor them in when you are choosing or changing a health insurance plan.  Finally, spend the time to research many different health insurance plans.  You certainly don’t want to make a costly mistake when shopping for health insurance, so be sure to walk through multiple plans and work with an expert when necessary.

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