Navigating the best health insurance for your family is not always easy. The healthcare system can be daunting, especially when looking for the right coverage for you and your family. There are so many things to consider: plans, copays, benefits, out-of-pocket costs, and more. Luckily, we have some easy tips to help make this process easier.
By examining the different health insurance plans and their features, it’ll be simple to choose a plan that’s right for you. Let’s take a look at the best health insurance plans and make your decision stress-free.
Four Major Types
There are four types of health insurance plans. Each has its own set of features, rules, and benefits.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
HMOs are typically the cheapest out of the four principal types. These operate solely within their network, meaning you have less freedom to choose providers. Referrals are required to see specialists from your primary care physician, and there’s little to no coverage for out-of-network providers.
While this plan is undesirable for some, it might be a good choice if you don’t mind your doctor choosing your specialists for you. There’s less work on your end since the staff will coordinate visits and medical records. Keep in mind, though, that there are limits regarding the providers you can use.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
This plan doesn’t require a primary care physician, and there’s more coverage when using in-network providers. Coverage for out-of-network providers does exist; however, it will cost more out-of-pocket. The benefits of this plan are that there are more provider options and no required referrals.
This plan is better for you if you prefer to choose your specialists. It’s also beneficial for those that live in remote or rural areas with limited access to care, meaning you may need to go out of the network.
Point of Service (POS)
With a POS, you choose an in-network primary care physician who will then refer you to specialists. There are more provider options, and your primary doctor will coordinate your care for you. Referrals are required and visiting an out-of-network provider means you will pay most of the cost.
Like HMOs, these require referrals, meaning you have less freedom when it comes to choosing a provider. However, by going through your primary doctor to an in-network specialist, you’ll be reducing your out-of-pocket costs.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)
EPOs don’t require you to have a primary care physician, but you’ll only receive coverage within the network. This limits the providers you can use since you have to go in-network, but you will have lower costs.
This plan is better for people in larger metro areas because you’re more likely to find multiple specialists within the network in the same place. This will keep your costs low and provide you with more coverage.
Understanding the benefits of in-network providers is crucial when choosing a health insurance plan. By making sure the doctor you want to see accepts the plan you’re considering will ensure your needs are met and keep your costs lower.
In-network providers are less expensive because the insurance company has an agreement with that office. This way, you can maintain your regular physician or pharmacy within the network. However, if you’re not concerned about paying more or finding new doctors, this won’t affect you drastically.
How Much Does Good Health Insurance Cost?
The price varies from plan to plan, but an excellent way to compare costs is by looking at key features of the plans you’re considering. Regular monthly expenses, such as plan premiums, annual deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts, are good indicators of how much a plan will cost overall. By checking these, you can estimate the total cost.
It’s All About the Benefits
Analyzing the benefits of different plans side by side can guide you in choosing a plan. Doing this will narrow your choices and help you tailor your decision to your family’s needs.
To do this, put your family’s medical needs under a microscope. What treatment have you received in the past? How much did it cost?
Also, make sure your medications are covered. Different benefits that are necessary for you and your family will have to be affordable for a plan to make sense.
If you have a preferred doctor, ask what insurance they accept. If you don’t have one, consider choosing a plan that has an extensive network, so you have more options. This is especially important if you live in a remote or rural area.
Eliminate any plans that don’t cover the necessities that your family needs. Narrow down your options to the plans that will keep costs low and cover the specifics of your family.
Read More: When Your Family Gets Sick: Caregiving 101
The Bottom Line
Choosing a health insurance plan doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Breaking down the different aspects of each plan can give you a better idea of what will be best for you and your family’s healthcare needs.
The four primary insurance plans each offer features that work for different people. By examining these plans side by side and narrowing down your options by what’s important to you will help you choose a plan. If however, you need help selecting a plan, some services can help you. You can find out about the best health insurance plans here.