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Comparing Health Insurance Quotes and Plans

One of the wisest – if not the wisest – steps you can take before buying a health insurance plan, is to ask for several quotes from different companies and compare them. But first, you need to understand the usually confusing insurance-speak about networks, copays, deductibles and the others.

So what do you have to think about when you compare health insurance quotes?

Decide what’s important to you.

First and foremost, make a list of the things that are important for you to have in a health plan. If you plan to continue your relationship your present doctor, ask what insurance plans he or she will participate in for the coming plan year. The networks are becoming smaller; a network two years ago will not be the same today. Consider this as you compare health insurance quotes.

Don’t just focus on the premium.

Yes, a low premium can be very tempting, but know that a plan with a low premium may come with a high deductible, possibly leaving you responsible for a good chunk of your own medical bills every year. Before certain types of services are covered, you’ll need to meet the deductible first. Clearly, this is among the biggest reasons you need to compare health insurance quotes before deciding on a particular plan.

Go through all possible out-of-pocket expenses.

Although different types of preventive care are must now be fully covered at no cost to you, under health reform, you may have to take on copayments, coinsurance (a portion of the total costs) and a deductible for the rest of the services.

Research doctors and hospitals.

Start your research with independent nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission (formerly The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations), which certifies and accredits hospitals and health care programs. Their website will let you determine whether a hospital or medical practice has been awarded the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval. At the end of the day, you want a health plan with a highly reputable hospital near you, all other things being equal.

Consider prescription drugs.

You can also check with the National Committee for Quality Assurance, another nonprofit that reviews medical practices.
Consumer Reports’ website applies the committee’s customer satisfaction, preventive services and treatment data on as basis for ranking health insurance plans on the state level. When you compare health insurance quotes, don’t forget to see if your prescription drugs are covered in the plan.

Shop around!

Though it may seem easy to simply renew any plan you presently have, you need to review any other, possibly newer options available to you, whether through your employer or privately. Be sure to look at the entire picture and not just the price tag. It may take a little more time, but yes, it is a must to compare health insurance quotes before deciding which plan to buy.