By Dan Seitz | August 7, 2014
One of the biggest changes in modern health care is that we all need to be on some form of individual health insurance. Whether it’s through an employer, from a state exchange, or bought privately, it’s the law of the land to be insured. So how do you figure out which individual health insurance plan is right for you? Follow these steps.
Know Your Legal Obligations
Not all health insurance plans will fulfill the individual mandate, which is the law that requires you to be insured. When shopping for an individual health insurance plan, look at what each plan offers carefully, and be wary of plans that don’t explicitly state they meet or exceed the federal minimums. The entire idea of getting insured is that you’re protected, after all.
Get A Sense Of What You Need Covered
Start with your health and what you need covered. The Affordable Care Act has leveled the playing field for anyone looking for insurance and made it simple for anyone to find a plan. So assess your health needs. Do you have a chronic condition that needs regular treatment or visits to the doctor? Do you have a family history of certain diseases you may need to insure yourself against? Do you just need health insurance to comply with the law? Know what you need, and go from there.
Figure Out What Deductible Will Fit Your Budget
As a rule, the higher your overall deductible,
the lower the cost of your individual health insurance plan. But that comes at a cost. Any care below the deductible will have to be paid for out of your own pocket. So, what deductible can you afford with your savings? What payments can you afford? Know your budget before you shop, and you’ll have an easier time finding the insurance you need.
Make A Point Of Comparison Shopping
Look at plans closely. Don’t just compare them based on cost as that can often be misleading. Instead, dig into the fine print and the details. Ask questions about what services are and aren’t covered, and why. Ask yourself if you’re likely to need a feature or extra coverage, and whether that part of the policy can be modified or otherwise shifted to meet your needs.
Think Long-Term Before Buying
It’s true that you’ll be able to change your health plan at some point. And health insurance will change constantly over the next few years as the Affordable Care Act and health insurer’s reactions to it change the landscape of how Americans get their health care. Still, it makes sense to think ahead as much as you can. Choose a plan that will fit into your budget for the long term, and will grow with you as your circumstances change.
Choosing an individual health insurance plan can be tough. But with a little smart shopping and consideration, you’ll be able to choose a plan that perfectly suits your needs.