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  • Choosing the Right Individual Health Plan

     

    As so many American are leaving their jobs (voluntarily or otherwise), there is a need for alternatives to high priced COBRA coverage.  The best option in an individual plan.  There are so many options and plans available, and the task of finding the right one can be daunting.  These  tips can help you find a low-cost individual health insurance policy that fits your needs.

    1.  

    Find Out What’s Covered
     Before you choose a health plan, find out what’s covered. For instance, is your family doctor covered? What is the coverage for prescription drugs?  You want a health insurance policy that covers all your medical needs, so check the details before you buy.

    Find Out What’s Not Covered
    After you learn what’s covered, find out what ism’t. For instance, many policies won’t cover acupuncture or in-home nursing care. Others won’t cover treatment for depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

    If you have a specific condition that requires a specialist, make sure it’s covered under your prospective plan.

    Choose Between an HMO or a PPO
    For low-cost care, an HMO is best. HMO’s typically have low deductibles and co-payments, resulting in minimal out-of-pocket costs. However, HMO’s also require you to select an in-network doctor to coordinate all of your medical care, and you cannot visit a specialist without being referred by your primary care doctor.

    PPOs, on the other hand, offer a much broader range of health care—but it comes at a price. Patients can see almost any doctor of their choice, provided they are part of the network. Plus, visits to specialists don’t require referrals. However, premiums and deductibles for PPO plans are generally higher than those of HMO plans.

    Decide Whether You Want a Low Premium or Cheap Co-Pays
    What’s better—low premiums or cheap co-payments? It depends entirely on your situation.

    Healthy applicants who rarely visit doctors may opt for lower premiums and higher co-pays. However, those with chronic health conditions may save money with cheaper co-pays and higher premiums.

    1. Lifetime Maximum Benefit
      A lifetime maximum is a cap on the amount of benefits you can receive, usually around $1 million. For most people that amount is adequate. However, if a chronic condition forces you into the hospital every few months, a $1 million cap may not be enough.
    2. Make Sure Your Prescriptions Are Covered
      If you take prescription drugs, make sure your medication is covered. Many monthly prescriptions cost hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket, so make sure all your medication is covered before purchasing a policy.

    Health insurance premiums can vary greatly by company—sometimes by as much as 50% for similar plans. So it pays to shop around.  Individual plan carriers can reject an applicant or increase the premium based on the health condions advised.

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