Nothing in the United States is quite as expensive as healthcare. Most people would rather avoid going to the hospital unless it was necessary because of the high costs. That can also mean forgoing an ambulance to avoid extra charges on top of the visit to the ER.
That’s where health insurance comes in. Pay a little every month to avoid paying big when you really need it. But you also have to consider other types of coverage, like for prescriptions and routine visits to the doctor.
Here are seven things you should consider before choosing your next hospitalization insurance.
1. Enrolling in Health Insurance When Healthy
Some people are under the illusion that if they’re healthy and avoid dangerous activities, they don’t need health insurance. For some, health insurance does primarily serve to make medicine more affordable.
However, accidents happen every day, and when they do, you’re going to need coverage to avoid paying thousands of dollars when you need to visit the hospital.
If you don’t need to use insurance often, get one that provides what you need without excessive charges. A lower monthly premium can save you money but also requires a higher copay on your part.
Does a particular insurance cover emergency room visits? Are your few prescriptions cover? How does the insurance change if you re-enroll in the same one as last year?
2. Employment-Based Health Care Coverage
Some employers offer health insurance as part of your employment. It’s completely optional, but they can sometimes offer good deals for your basic healthcare needs. However, you don’t need to use their coverage if you have a better alternative available.
It’s convenient to have your insurance picked out for you. After all, there are a lot of options out there to decide between. In fact, around half of the U.S. population uses employer-sponsored health insurance.
The reason you may want to go against that statistic, however, is because there are better alternatives. You might have specialized needs that aren’t covered, or the premiums are too high for your liking.
Choosing health insurance that’s right for you often means taking the time to shop around and look into what’s offered.
3. Prescription Drug Coverage
One of the most important aspects of good health insurance is that they help you pay for the prescription drugs you need to function.
People with diabetes need insulin to survive, yet out-of-pocket costs can be $300 a vial. Generic brands do exist, but their efficacy is up for debate.
Similarly, medications for anxiety and depression can be hit or miss. You don’t want to find the one that actually works only for your insurance, not to cover it.
Check the formulary to see what drugs are covered and their associated cost. You should also look online to see what pharmacies are in-network, so you don’t have to travel far to pick up your medications.
4. Providers In-Network
Assuming you haven’t recently moved, you’re probably planning to visit the same doctors you currently see. Before enrolling in health insurance, reach out to your primary physician to see which insurances they accept. Health insurance savings are great, but you might also really like your current doctor.
If you’re not a huge fan of your current doctor, however, you can always use new health insurance as an excuse to find another one close to you. Reach out to the office to see if they’re accepting new patients and to check their credentials.
The same goes for any specialists you have to see. You want to continue seeing someone you like and trust whose office isn’t too far away.
5. Medicare Supplement
Anyone over the age of 65 has access to Medicare through the government, but it can be difficult to decide on the best one for your needs. Luckily enough, the default Medicare Part A and Part B together help pay for hospital and doctor’s office visits.
However, if you want something more than hospitalization insurance, you’ll need to purchase a Medicare Advantage Plan run by a private insurance company. This Medicare supplement helps cover prescription costs, dental and vision services.
Every Advantage plan is different, so make sure you consider the types of medications covered and how much you’ll still pay for services after insurance. Use online resources to find the best Medicare plan available.
6. Alternative Therapy Availability
If you currently see a chiropractor, you probably know that it isn’t typically covered under most health insurance plans. Neither are home births or massage therapy. If it is covered, you’re still going to end up paying most of the bill.
Interested in alternative therapies? Look into what a provider offers, and don’t be afraid to ask about the types of therapies you plan to use.
See how much these services will cost before and after insurance, and make sure the ones near you actually accept that insurance.
7. Does It Match Your Future Plans?
Another important aspect to consider is how far your coverage extends past your own personal needs. For example, what happens if you become a father within the year? What if someone covered by you develops a serious health condition?
Those considering a move to a new state find hospitalization insurance that works both where you’re living now and wherever you’ll be later in the year.
A benefit of acquiring insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace is the ability to report a life change and qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You can then shop for and enroll in a new plan.
Pick the Right Hospitalization Insurance
Finding health coverage can be an overwhelming ordeal, regardless of your health, location, and income. There are many options, and you don’t want to make the wrong choice and get stuck with something that’s a bad fit.
Take into account your specific health needs when looking for hospitalization insurance. Don’t overspend on premiums if you never need to visit the hospital or see a specialist. But don’t skimp out on good coverage because you think you won’t need it.
For more information on lifestyle and health, check out our other articles.