Stethoscope for listening to heart beats.

Coverage Questions

Finding the right amount of protection will require that you ask yourself several questions. Here are the things you need to know before you choose your plan.

Can You Afford a Policy?

If you're just getting off an employer-subsidized health plan, you should understand that health insurance rates for private insurance are much, much higher than those for group plans. Health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2006, so this is not an insignificant cost. Before you shop for coverage, you should take a good look at your budget to make sure you can afford private insurance coverage. If you have a family, your premiums will be even higher, so make sure you take that into account.

Are You Insurable?

People with preexisting conditions may be deemed uninsurable for health insurance purposes. If you can get a plan, you may face exceptionally high rates as a result of your risky condition or illness. People who have no pre-existing illnesses or injuries will have the easiest time getting an affordable plan.

What Services Do I Use Most?

You might be one of those people who never goes to the doctor. If so, you might not need the very comprehensive coverage that traditional PPOs and HMOs offer. If you're looking just to protect your assets in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury, you can get coverage that is limited only to those events and that is very cheap. On the other hand, you might require dozens of prescription drugs each month. In that case, you want to be sure you get price estimates on a plan that includes good prescription drug benefits. If you need medicine frequently, you want to be sure your co-pays on your drug coverage are also reasonable. These small expenses can quickly become unaffordable if you require multiple medications.

What kind of out-of-pocket costs can I manage?

If you want the lowest health insurance rates possible, you will have to accept that your out-of-pocket costs will be higher. For those who are willing to pay more out of pocket for medical care, you will be rewarded with more reasonable rates. You might have to pay higher co-pays or deductibles, but your rates will be much lower than if you tried to minimize your out-of-pocket costs.