How to Choose Health Insurance for Your Family

The leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States is medical debt. Having the appropriate health insurance coverage is a necessity. It’s not just a hospital stay that can wipe out your savings, but medical bills that come from Offline or Online Doctor’s visits or screenings. But, the task of cutting through all the confusing language and options in front of you can cause you to delay making a decision. Read these tips on how to choose health insurance for your family and stop procrastinating.

Determine your Options

Insurance plans are usually one of three types: health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider options (PPOs), or point of service type plans. Quite simply put, this means that you will receive your medical care and treatment form a network of physicians and providers that participate with the plan you are considering.

Check the list of approved providers to find out if your family doctor is part of the network. If you have been a patient of a certain doctor for a long period of time and want to stay with him or her, you may have to choose a different option. If not, you can consider choosing another physician for you and your family.

Compare Costs

When comparing costs of health insurance, you need to consider the monthly premium, as well as any cost you will incur out of pocket.

  • Premiums can vary greatly among each insurance provider. If you are able to purchase your family’s health insurance through your employer, this is often the most economical choice. When you choose this option, premiums will be taken from your salary each payday.
  • Compare co-pay costs for office visits, prescription medications, emergency room visits and wellness checks. Read through to determine what your deductible amount is for each individual and the family as a whole. Deductibles are the portion of the medical bill that must be paid by you before insurance coverage takes effect.
  • Read through and compare the annual limits for health treatment of each plan. While the health care reform laws have eliminated coverage limits in most circumstances, but insurance carriers still have the ability to set limits on “non-essential” services.

 Assess your Family’s Needs

To avoid buying too much or too little health insurance for your family, it’s important to assess each individual’s medical needs. Thinking about anticipated needs will guide you when looking at plan specifics like deductibles and co-pays. Check the following list of factors to keep in mind when choosing health insurance for your family.

  • Chronic conditions and diseases. By law, health insurance companies cannot refuse coverage for pre-existing conditions, but it can impact your out of pocket costs with more frequent medical care.
  • Routine medications. Prescription drug coverage can vary greatly from plan to plan. Consider the coverage and costs for any routine medications you or a family member needs on a daily basis.
  • Must-haves. Take into account maternity coverage if you are starting or growing your family. If you already have children, look into factors such as dental and orthodontic services and how well they are covered. Vision and dental coverage are generally purchased separately, but still must be considered in the overall picture.