By Swamini Kulkarni
The new year is here and we all have a long bucket list in our minds such as a solo trip to Bhutan, a few books to read, a gym to join, and learn a new instrument. However, we hardly think about health insurance.
Picking a health insurance plan can be overwhelming, especially when there are so many technical terms and clauses. Moreover, once in a while, you get to hear some fraudulent company that ripped off its customer’s money with tricky terms and conditions, which makes you more conscious regarding choosing appropriate and trust-worthy health insurance.
Rise in healthcare expenses, mandatory inclusion of health insurance in private and public sectors, and rise in the prevalence of chronic diseases have boosted the demand for health insurance across the globe. According to Allied Market Research, the global health insurance market is projected to reach $4.48 trillion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 4.4% from 2019 to 2026.
Although the demand for medical insurance has increased, health insurance remains a tricky matter to handle, even for professionals. Here are a few tips for you to figure out the right plan for you.
- Choose the right plan
Before you settle down for the same plan that you had last year, make sure that it covers all kinds of medical as well as dental needs for you and your family. If you have an upcoming orthodontal work or someone in your family needs to have surgery, choose a plan that covers those best and take the financial load off of your shoulder.
- Estimate how much healthcare you use
Picking out a healthcare insurance plan involves tremendous guesswork regarding how many health-related issues you may face in the future and how it can financially affect you. Although health insurances consider age as the most important factor, you need to add a lot of unknowns such as car accident or surprise diagnosis of cancer. You have to think about such factors and opt for a plan that covers such expenses. If you are a frequent traveler, opt for a plat that covers medical expenses across the globe and is not limited to your country. You may have to pay extra, however, it is worth the investment.
- Fully understand your plan
Look for the benefits documents at hand while signing up for your insurance as it offers information regarding which you will have to pay for services and rules of the insurance plan. Know what your plan says. For instance, check if you need to choose an in-network primary care physician or need a specialist. If you want to continue the plan of last year, reread the documents clearly and see if you can modify it according to your medical needs.
- Compare estimate yearly costs
People often focus on the monthly payment while comparing health insurance plans and forget entirely to consider other costs such as deductibles or co-payments. The premium price is usually featured when you’re looking at plans. However, pay attention to the plan’s deductible and how much really goes out of your pockets throughout the year. Yearly cost estimate would offer important insight while picking a plan.
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true premium plans
While surfing through the Internet, you may come across a plan that offers lower monthly premiums. However, more often than not they never cover the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) essential benefits and may not include important things like mental health treatment and parental care. Some plays have hidden terms of conditions that they never address on the front page. Thus, read the documents carefully before going for such online health insurance.
- Take benefit your plan when you have met deductibles
Once you have fulfilled your deductibles, you would have to pay less out of the pocket. Thus, if you are done with your deductibles, know this that this the best time for you to check your eyes, get skin screened, or other medical services you need at an affordable price.
- Get prescriptions via mail
For your long-term illness, you can minimize the cost of the medicines if you order it on subscription services through your insurer. Using 90-days supplies and getting mail orders would help you save a few bucks.
- Know your in-network providers
The doctors and hospitals that participate with your insurance networks are your best options. It is best to get advice from the doctors who are affiliated with hospitals that are covered in your health insurance plan. While admitting your family members, make sure that the hospital staff is treating you using your insurance plan.
- Go for a plan with telehealth and virtual visits
The life of today’s generations has become busier than ever. Many simply cannot find time to schedule an appointment with a doctor. Telehealth offers a solution to connect with your doctor as per your convenience along with a plan providing frequent virtual visits. Telehealth is now the easiest, most adorable way of talking to a doctor for common health issues using smartphones, computers, or table. Thus, option of telehealth should be covered by the insurer.
- Look for specialty benefits
Additional benefits such as vision, dental, and critical illness insurance are something that could help you protect your finances. Most of the time, such additional expenses are overlooked. Thus, before signing any document, ask your insurer to add to your healthcare plan.
Swamini Kulkarni holds a bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation and control engineering from Pune University, and works as a content writer at Progressive Markets. She is deeply fascinated by the impact of technology on human life, and loves to talk about science and mythology.