These days, it’s easy to shop for almost anything online, including health insurance quotes. But shopping for health care can be a confusing journey. By answering these 3 questions first, a consumer can make the process much more streamlined.
Ready to shop for health insurance quotes online? Maybe — maybe not. Shopping for any type of insurance usually requires the shopper to make a number of on-the-spot decisions, so it helps to have your priorities firmly in mind before you begin. If you want to avoid a mind-numbing shopping experience, you may want to write down the answers to the following 3 questions — before you fire up your computer and start shopping for online quotes.
1. How flexible are you? Do you have your heart set on seeing a specific doctor, or receiving medical care at a specific hospital? If so, you will want to start your shopping process by ruling out all Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s), which are very restrictive about using their “in network” health care providers.
On the other hand, if you have been referred to a particular HMO, ask them up front whether or not your favorite providers are included in their network. If not, you’ll want to look elsewhere — perhaps a PPO that provides more flexibility.
2. How healthy are you? Are you looking for a specific kind of coverage? Keep in mind that health insurance coverage comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors and what is necessary for your neighbor isn’t necessarily the right kind of coverage for you. Think about your lifestyle and decide whether or not any of the following optional benefits are important to you — prescription drug coverage, mental health benefits, maternity care, vision care, dental, or chiropractic care. If you don’t expect to need these benefits, there is certainly no point in paying for them in your policy.
On the other hand, make sure you are including optional coverage that you are likely to need. For example, if you have any thought of starting a family in the near future, maternity benefits are an absolute necessity as they will be prohibitively expensive or impossible to purchase once a pregnancy has occurred.
3. How much deductible can you afford? Early in the quote-seeking process, you will need to declare the amount of deductible you are seeking. Remember, the higher the deductible, the lower your premiums. It is generally advised that you accept the highest deductible being offered, even if it seems like a financial stretch — the lower premiums will usually out-weigh the deductible over time.
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