January 20, 2016

There is precious little in life more important than your health, so choosing a health insurance policy shouldn’t be something that you enter into lightly. Be prepared to spend time thoroughly researching different health insurance providers; the five points below should help you make an informed choice: 

  1. Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum are the 4 categories of health insurance plans/policies in existence, and each one will offer different benefits, coverage and prices. Be aware that the categories don’t refer to the quality of care you will receive.
  2.  Remember that you will be asked to pay a monthly fee for your health insurance plan, regardless of whether you’ve used any medical services or not. When you receive medical care, you will pay for any costs deemed to be out-of-pocket, which include deductibles; these are usually provided as clauses in insurance policies and dictate how much expense the policyholder can reasonably be expected to pay for. You’ll need to consider the total cost of your plan before you purchase it.
  3. Some types of insurance plan will enable you to seek treatment at almost any medical facility, and use any doctor that you choose, while others may limit you in this respect and charge you more if you seek help outside of their designated healthcare facilities.
  4. Carefully check the full details and small print that come with any quote you are given by insurance providers, to ensure that the healthcare plan has a suitable level of benefits for you. If you find that the levels offered are not satisfactory, you can usually opt to change them to suit your budget and needs.
  5. Make sure that you check your healthcare plan for its’ ‘benefits,’ ‘limitations,’ and ‘exclusions’; you may find that many of your benefits are limited in this particular section, and medical care such as diagnostic testing or treatment as an outpatient can be extremely limited. Illnesses such as cancer often require extensive treatments that don’t require a trip to a hospital, and if you’re not careful, you could land yourself with huge bills for diagnostic and outpatient care. 

Watch out for limitations on things like hospital room rates and intensive care, too. Some healthcare policies display rates that limit intensive care costs to 3 times the regular room rate, when in reality, such treatment can often cost much more than 10 times the cost of a room rate. Before you know it, you could be seriously ill and seriously in debt, too! 

Other limitations may include ‘pre-existing conditions’ and you will need to check that your policy will exclude this permanently.

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