The 4 Step Guide: Choosing the Best Health Insurance

The 4 Step Guide: Choosing the Best Health Insurance

Mar 05 2014

Health insurance is not one size fits all.

You (and your loved ones) have unique health needs to consider, and those needs will determine the benefits, coverage and payment that matches your lifestyle.

Follow these steps when choosing the best health insurance for your and your family:

Step 1: Consider your health (and your family’s health)

  • Do you have pre-existing conditions?
  • In the past year, did you have frequent visits to a health provider?
  • Do you anticipate the need for large medical services, such as surgeries or medical tests?
  • Will you need to seek specialized services, such as those from a dermatologist, chiropractor or mental health specialist?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are likely going to use your health coverage benefits more frequently. It might be a good idea to minimize the amount of potential out-of-pocket costs throughout the year.

TIP: Consider a plan with a higher premium but a lower deductible.

Answered no? You might be safe with a lower premium and higher deductible as you do not have a history of health care needs. It would be prudent, however, to consider a potential “what if” situation.

Step 2: Consider potential life changes

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Changing jobs

After the enrollment period, your health plan is locked in unless you have a “qualifying event” that allows you to change your coverage. Until the event occurs, it doesn’t affect your current decision or health coverage but it is definitely something to consider.

TIP: Life changes aside, make sure you are happy with all your plan offers when choosing a plan during the open enrollment period.

Step 3: Consider your budget

  • Are you eligible for a financial subsidy?
  • What is your financial flexibility?
  • Are you prepared to pay the out-of-pocket expenses on your health plan throughout the year?

It is important to factor in both the premium and out-of-pocket costs of each plan.

TIP: If you use health services frequently, you will likely be more front-loaded at the beginning of the year in terms of payments until you reach your deductible.

Step 4: Consider any additional benefits

  • Does the plan offer support to help you reach your fitness goals?
  • Does the plan provide any resources to help you manage your health conditions?
  • Can you find a doctor you trust close to home in your network?

Always check what the plan offers above and beyond the standard health coverage you desire.

TIP: Take advantage of these benefits as they can help improve your health and reduce your costs in the long run.

Think through these steps when choosing the best health insurance plan for you.

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