The Affordable Care Act (often called Obamacare) is having a serious effect on health insurance. However, whether you are required to buy health insurance yourself or your employer offers it, you do want to make sure you’re getting as much as you can for your money. Here are some tips that can help assure you that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Talk to your family’s doctor’s
A good first step is to call the office manager at your family’s doctors and ask if there are any plans or providers or any plans they recommend. This person may suggest some plans but it might be because they pay more money. Your goal should be to get a plan with the best coverage but the lowest possible premiums so the suggestions you get from that office manager might not be your best choice. You should also ask if there are any plans they don’t accept.
Be careful about “hidden” deductibles
There are a number of insurance plans that have a relatively low co-pay for an office visit but might have a $2500 deductible if you have to go to the hospital. This is a sort of hidden deductible and it’s really where you risk out-of-pocket expenses. Check to see if the plan you’re considering does have one of these hidden hospital deductibles. In this case, you might be better off paying a higher premium for a plan that comes with a lower deductible.
Consider whether or not you want coverage for prescriptions
Contact a few pharmacies and get information about their typical retail prices. Once you have this information, sit down and do the math to see how much you would pay each month if you bought your prescriptions with cash. If you find that it’s a small number like $50 a month and the plan you’re thinking about buying is charging $200 a month for a prescription benefit, think about not buying this coverage.
Choose a plan that shows $0
The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies must pay 100% before any co-pay or deductible for everything that falls into the category of preventative care. This means that standard well visits and childhood vaccinations should not mean a co-pay. You will want to choose a plan that shows zero dollars for those kind of visits even if there is a deductible.
Get your contract
Health insurance is weird because it’s the only thing where you buy the product then get your contract. However, in most states you will have from two weeks to 30 days after you receive your contract to decide you don’t want the insurance, cancel it and ask for your money back. Before you buy the insurance, ask how long you have to rescind your coverage and get a refund if you don’t like the contract. When you get your contract, read it carefully and make sure you’re comfortable with all of its terms. In the event you don’t understand any of its provisions, call the insurance company and ask for an explanation. Don’t be afraid to continue asking questions until your comfortable with all the answers.