When you compare health insurance plans, it can be helpful to know what you’re looking for. Do you need more help from the insurance provider to cover your health costs, or will you only use your health insurance for emergencies? These are important considerations to take before shopping for a new plan.
Learning About Health Insurance Plans Leads to the Right Choice
Your search for the right health insurance plan doesn’t have to be confusing. Educating yourself on what benefits and features to look for can considerably narrow your search.
Here are a few important basics to consider when choosing a plan:
- Plan category
- Monthly premiums
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Type of insurance plan and provider network
The basics listed above serve as the basis for the Affordable Care Act’s ten essential health benefits.
Your Essential Benefits
No matter how you receive your health insurance plan, you’re guaranteed these essential health benefits:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
Set Your Expenses by Selecting a Plan Category
How you use your health insurance helps determine what category of plan you might choose. You’ll want to think about how often you receive medical care and what out-of-pocket expenses your budget can manage.
These categories determine how you and your insurance provider will share the costs of care. They do not, however, affect the quality or amount of care received. There are five categories to choose from:
- Bronze: Your plan covers 60%; you pay 40%.
- Silver: Your plan covers 70%; you pay 30%.
- Gold: Your plan covers 80%; you pay 20%.
- Platinum: Your plan covers 90%; you pay 10%.
- Catastrophic: Your plan covers 60% of the total average cost of care. This plan is only available to people under 30 years or who have a hardship exemption.
Health insurance plans that cover more of your medical costs typically have higher monthly premium. So it’s important to have an idea about how you’ll use your health insurance plan during the year.
The future is unpredictable, which is why we all want to have comprehensive, affordable health insurance. Fortunately, the knowledgeable professionals at HealthMarkets Insurance Agency will search thousands of health insurance plans from providers nationwide to find the perfect coverage for your unique health needs—and we’ll do it for free!