We all need health insurance, but choosing the right coverage can be difficult. If you sign up for the wrong plan, you may discover your error when it is too late. Watch out for these five common mistakes:
- 1. Choosing a plan based on premium costs alone. If you have a health condition that requires ongoing medical care, you will likely be better served with a plan with higher premiums, and lower out-of-pocket costs. However, the law restricts the amount you will be required to pay, no matter how low the premiums you pay. If you are healthy and rarely need a doctor, you may find a higher deductible plan a good fit, but be aware that if you do get ill, you will be facing higher out-of-pocket costs.
2. The doctor or hospital you like is not in your network. You may have been treated by a doctor you like or have a preferred hospital. When purchasing health insurance, make sure your doctor and hospital are in the network of the plan you choose, or you will be paying every time you go “out of network.” A PPO plan will pay a percentage of your treatment at an out-of-network provider, but you may not be aware of how much the doctor charges and may be left with a bill that is much higher than you expected.
3. Missing the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. When a person works past their 65th birthday and has health insurance through employment, there is no reason to sign up for Medicare, as they gain few benefits. Those who delay signing up for the program will have a late enrollment penalty every year. You must sign up for Medicare within eight months of ending employment.
4. Failing to understand co-pays. You may have thought you were covered for doctor visits, only to be charged every time. Ensure you understand your plan’s co-pay clause before you commit.
5. Waiting until you need medical care to buy insurance. Many younger people don’t feel they need health insurance, as they may rarely seek medical care. The truth is that health insurance is a must for people of all ages. The cost of health insurance for young, healthy people is very affordable and will be invaluable when they become ill or are in an accident.
6. Failing to understand “sub-limits.” Sub-limits are the maximum amounts a health insurance company will pay for various illnesses and conditions. These limits could lead to owing a significant amount of money.
Choosing the Right Health Insurance Policy
Every individual has a unique situation, and choosing the right health insurance can be challenging. Of course, low premiums are always a concern. The best way to choose a plan that will work for you, your budget, and your health is to work with a local agent who can direct you to the plan that will provide you with the benefits that make sense for you and your family.