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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tips to help you choose the best health insurance plan

Healthcare planning tips
Healthcare options include bronze, silver and gold coverage
By Leanne White 

Now that the Affordable Care Act has given people even more choices when it comes to health insurance plans that will cover everything from annual check-ups to exams by specialists and even prescription drugs, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Rest assured, though, that by searching through your options using the following tips, you'll choose the best plan that’s right for your needs.

Learn the heavy metals

One of the first things that you'll notice while shopping for a health insurance plan these days is the fact that every plan is listed as either bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. You'll probably immediately wonder what this means, but it's simpler than you think. Without going into too much detail, all you basically need to know is that a bronze plan will be the most affordable plan, and it will cover 60% of your costs. The somewhat more expensive silver plan will cover 70% of your healthcare costs, while the even more expensive gold plan will cover 80%. And, finally, the most expensive and most desirable plan would be a platinum level plan that covers 90% of your costs.

You'll notice that, whether you're searching through plans made available through your state government or you're searching for options from private insurance companies, all of the plans will be categorized in this manner.

Basic core coverage

No matter what plan you choose to go with, you can expect to get coverage for basic services, such as maternity and newborn care, prescriptions, emergency and lab services, and preventative and wellness checks. And the other good news is that pre-existing conditions have no bearing on the coverage you can receive or what you'll be expected to pay. Again, the difference is how much of the cost you'll be responsible for, depending upon what level of coverage you purchase.

Making the right choice

Keep in mind that, the better the coverage, the higher your monthly premium will be. On the other hand, if you go with a cheaper plan that offers a lower monthly premium, you should expect to pay more when you actually do get medical care.

So how do you decide upon which plan is really right for you? There are several things that you need to consider. For example, if you suffer with a chronic condition that requires frequent trips to the doctor or specialist or that requires you to continually refill prescription medications, you should opt for the plans that offer more coverage so that you pay less every time you go to the doctor or get your medicine. On the other hand, if you are fairly healthy and you basically just go to the doctor once a year for a wellness check or when you come down with the flu, you can go with a plan that will allow you to pay a lower monthly premium and save money that way. And no matter what plan you choose, if you have extra services like a prescription discount card from AffordRX.com, you can save extra money. 

About the author: Leanne White is a freelance health blogger who understands how difficult it is to understand the new rules regarding healthcare in the US. She wants to reassure everyone that it's easier than it looks and that there's a plan out there for everyone. Getting the right healthcare plan will give you much-needed peace of mind. 

Image license: 401(K)2012, CC BY-SA 2.0