The health insurance industry is extremely complicated and hard to understand, especially when you need to know the details of your current coverage or if you’re shopping around for new health insurance plans and trying to figure out which one works best for you.
The most important thing you can do when it comes to understanding your health insurance policy and how it works is knowing exactly what kind of health insurance you have in the first place.
Here are some ways to tell what kind of coverage you have
Understanding health care basics
The first step in understanding your current health care is being aware of whether you’re covered under an employer, a parent’s or spouse’s policy, or Medicare.
If you’re insured by an employer and your company offers different policies, it’s helpful to know which one you signed up for.
Employer-sponsored plans are divided into two categories: group (employees of companies with 20 or more workers) and individual (people not employed by companies).
If you don’t recall signing up for your current policy, chances are you were automatically enrolled.
Understanding how private health care works
In general, private health care works in a similar way as private education or private transport.
Just like you may use your own vehicle to get from point A to point B, instead of taking public transport (publicly funded), you might pay extra for private healthcare.
Likewise, if you choose a private school for your child over state-funded one, you would also be paying more than usual because it is a service that is partially subsidized by taxes.
The exact numbers vary greatly depending on where you live and how old you are; furthermore, each country has its own system and specificities when it comes to basic coverage.
In most developed countries today, everyone is expected to contribute towards their own wellbeing in some form or another. Read on to learn how healthcare actually works in your country!
Evaluating your needs
When you start searching for an individual health plan, take time to evaluate your needs.
While plans can vary wildly in terms of deductibles, copays and more, it’s important that you figure out exactly how much insurance you need.
This way, you won’t end up paying for extra coverage that isn’t necessary or overlooking a key benefit (like prescription drug coverage) that can save money down the road.
Starting off on the right foot by choosing a plan with all of your requirements will make renewing it when it comes time to shop again easy.
Looking at the marketplace
Before you can decide which plan is best for you, you’ll need to compare plans on price, network size and more.
We’ll walk through how to do that in just a minute. But first, it’s important to consider why you need health insurance in the first place—so that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about here.
Why do you need coverage? Maybe it’s because your employer doesn’t offer benefits or maybe it’s because your family history raises concerns.
For instance, if a parent or sibling has had cancer at an early age, you might want cancer coverage, or if diabetes runs in your family and runs up big medical bills, then high-risk coverage might be important.
Choosing a plan
There are a number of factors that will influence your decision about which plan to choose.
Price, coverage, brand and provider quality are all important.
And when it comes down to it, many consumers simply shop on price—they focus solely on premiums and don’t take into account out-of-pocket costs or covered services.
As a result, they may end up with a plan that isn’t as comprehensive as they thought and costs more than they can actually afford.
Dealing with pre-existing conditions
If you’re dealing with a pre-existing condition, it might be difficult to find affordable health insurance. Typically, you’ll need an individual plan because group plans usually require that all employees are relatively healthy.
There are some exceptions for preexisting conditions—but only if your employer is small and not publicly traded.
In that case, your employer has more flexibility to accommodate your specific needs.
Also, keep in mind that most plans will cap how much they pay out every year; so even if you start with a great deal at first, you could be stuck paying out of pocket once you reach their limit.
As with any issue related to medical coverage, talk to your human resources department or financial advisor before making any decisions on a new policy or plan.
How to check if your health insurance is active online
It’s almost impossible for individuals who don’t work for a company that offers their own benefits plan to keep track of exactly which plan they’re on, much less figure out if that plan has been canceled.
Luckily, there are sites designed to help you make sense of your insurance situation and tell you whether your policy is still active.
Start by logging in to your account at HealthCare.gov; not only will it show you which coverage options you qualify for, but it will also allow you to check whether any applications or other important information has been received from your state’s marketplace or Medicaid office.
What are the two main types of health insurance
There are two main types of health insurance: individual and group.
Group is offered through your employer, and individual is purchased by you directly from an insurer or third-party administrator.
Which type you choose depends on a number of factors: whether you are eligible for any subsidized care, whether your employer offers a plan, how much time and money you want to invest in purchasing coverage, etc. It’s not one size fits all!
I don’t know if i have health insurance
Health care costs can be difficult to control when you’re trying to balance work, family, and school.
When you’re also trying to pay for medical expenses with an already limited budget, it can feel nearly impossible.
Fortunately, there are many tools that can help you make smart financial decisions about your healthcare.
One of these tools is a health insurance cost calculator.
A cost calculator is a tool you can use online or on your phone or computer that will determine how much a particular procedure costs, depending on where it takes place and what kind of coverage you have.
Compare health insurance plans calculator
For most people, buying healthcare is far from being a necessity. In fact, it’s completely optional.
However, if you’re going to go down that road, you may as well take full advantage of your potential benefits by comparing different health insurance plans before making a final decision.
This way, you can be sure that your payments are covering all of your needs and that everything is affordable in case of any future medical emergencies.
After all, finding out you don’t have coverage when an accident happens could ruin not only your financial situation but also your physical and mental well-being.