There are two main reasons for a huge upsurge in individual health insurance inquiries. One is that thousands of baby boomers are retiring daily, and those that aren't lucky enough to have a health insurance option in their retirement plan, have to purchase health insurance/supplemental insurance elsewhere. Secondly, reform is well underway, which means that more individuals are forced to search for, and purchase, their own health insurance - depending of course the decision that their employer makes.
7+ Tips on How to Pick The Best Individual Health Insurance Coverage
- Identify the “must-haves.” You can’t foresee a sudden injury or illness, but some medical needs can be anticipated. Maternity coverage, for example, is an obvious must-have if you’re starting a family, and not all policies offer it. If you have a family history of heart disease, you may want to make sure your coverage includes the cost of cardiac screening tests and cholesterol-lowering drugs. Under the Affordable Care Act, individual insurance plans must cover the full cost of more than two dozen preventive services for men, women, and children, including vaccinations and tests for high blood pressure, cholesterol, colon cancer, and diabetes, as long as they’re provided by a practitioner in the plan’s network.
- The right plan for your age/health. If you’re relatively young and healthy, consider choosing a policy with a high deductible, the amount you must pay out of pocket before certain benefits kick in. A plan with a deductible of $1,000 or more is likely to cost you considerably less per month, and could save you money in the long run. If you middle aged or older, and things just don't work the way they used to, consider a plan that would address those issues, with a slightly lower deductible - because you know you are for certain going to use it. Do the math. Add your deductible out-of-pocket cost to the monthly cost of the plan - are you ahead at the end of the year if you use your coverage consistently?
- Make sure your drugs are covered. You’ll want to make certain that the plan’s list of covered medications, includes those you take regularly, especially if they are expensive.
- Check the network. If you have a primary care physician and specialists you like, be sure they’re in the network of any plan you consider buying. Policies generally cover a lower share of the cost of out-of-network care—or none at all. R&R Insurance can supply you with links to the plan's network of physicians to help you in your decision making.
- Know your share of the costs. Plans are required to state how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket, through flat fees called co-pays and through coinsurance, a form of “cost-sharing” in which you pay a percentage of a medical service. Find out whether the out-of-pocket includes the deductible - or is it "in addition to" the deductible?
- Coverage for a spouse or dependents? An "individual" plan, again means that it isn't connected to your employer, but it can cover multiple people. Make sure you factor in the needs of your spouse, their age, affordable deductible etc. If you have children under age 26 without health insurance coverage through an employer, the law permits them to be on your insurance. Policies also can no longer exclude kids under age 19 from coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
- Walk through several plans. It only takes a few minutes to review the main benefits associated with each plan, and some plans that look appealing at first glance may turn out to have cost-sharing features that could burden you with heavy medical costs.
BONUS SUGGESTION: If you are retiring, always check with your employer to see if it is part of your retirement package, or if your employer offers the option to purchase their health insurance plan to retirees. This a lot of times can be a more affordable option as you settle into retirement. COBRA coverage can also be helpful during your transition phase.
At R&R Insurance, we value your time and your privacy. We will take your call, collect the minimum amount of information necessary to submit a quote, and then review those quotes with you to make sure you fully understand the coverage and the costs. Avoid the hassle of filling out multiple forms online to then be bombarded with email blasts you don't want. We will trust your privacy, get you the right information in a quick and professional manner, and make sure you are covered in the end.
Wisconsin residents contact Donna Wahl, Individual Health Insurance agent for R&R Insurance, or call 1-800-566-7007 to get started on a quote.