How to Choose the Best Health Insurance in Year Two of ACA

How to Choose the Best Health Insurance in Year Two of ACA

Nov 19 2014

If you purchased health insurance coverage during the inaugural year of the Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s time to review your options. And that’s a good thing.

Health insurance companies have reviewed their portfolio of plans and are responding with smarter and more competitive offerings. Likewise, you probably also have a better grasp of what you and your family needs from a health plan.

Before choosing a new health plan, it’s important to start with your current coverage

You might need more coverage, or you might need less. Your financial needs may have changed or maybe you want to see a new doctor, who wasn’t covered before. Below are some helpful tips to help you shop for the best health insurance plan for you and your family.

Review your current plan information

Before choosing a new health plan, it’s important to start with your current coverage. Does your plan provide a large enough network? Are you happy with prescription coverage? Have you met your deductible? Some health insurance companies provide information about claims history, how much you’ve paid for health care services, and more through their website. These details could be a great barometer to help you in selecting coverage that’s a better fit.

Know your health care habits

You might not own a crystal ball, but as you begin shopping for a health plan, it’s important to evaluate how you and your family used health care services during the year and think about how you plan to use them next year. Some health plans require you to meet your full deductible before paying for certain services. Decide what you would want covered before you start paying against your deductible, such as doctor’s visits, specialist visits and prescriptions.

Do you need a bigger network?

When health concerns arise, it’s important that your insurance is easy to use. Do you need a referral to see your own dermatologist or any other specialist? Is your doctor in your plan’s network? Make sure your coverage isn’t limited to a “narrow” or small network, and that the plan doesn’t force you to get a referral before seeing a specialist. You can use the “Find a Doctor” tool available on most health insurance web sites if you are still looking for the right doctor.

Beyond the benefits

Although the Health Insurance Marketplace is a great place to compare essential plan information, make sure to take a deeper dive into the insurer itself. Research the customer service of the health plans you’re interested in, and look for membership perks, like health-related discounts and online doctor visits.