Although the general need for healthcare has not changed over time, healthcare continues to become more costly for the average American. The National Business Group on Health (NBGH) has recently released information showing that in the year 2016, the average cost of insurance related co-pays have increased by up to 25%, while in-network deductibles have risen about 50%! For those who require assistance with healthcare coverage, there is evidence that choices of affordable plans have decreased in numbers.
Given the findings of increasing costs and decreasing choices associated with having an affordable health plan, it is even more important that we make wise choices when seeking health care coverage. Recognizing that the November period associated with, “open enrollment” is approaching, I am reminded of some useful information which has been given to me in the past which can be helpful when deciding which health plan to get.
- Identify the type of deductible which may be best for you
Many people are aware that you should get a high deductible health plan if you are a very healthy person. It makes since—the monthly payments are low and since you are likely not to use the insurance, you will likely not need to spend money on deductibles related to healthcare visits. However, fewer individuals know that you should also get a high deductible plan if you or your family members have many medical illnesses which require multiple healthcare related visits. Why? Because, although you will hit your high deductible costs quickly, you will then only need to pay co-pay costs with each visit and you will quickly reach your out-of-pocket maximums and will no longer have to pay for visits!!
- Ensure that your current healthcare provider(s) are in the plan’s network
If you are satisfied with the healthcare you are currently receiving, it will be important that you contact your healthcare providers and confirm that they are covered with the health plan(s) that you are choosing from. Don’t forget to also consider any hospitals professional or diagnostic centers which you have a preference for. After all, the most important consideration is that you receive quality care.
- Determine if the medications you are taking are in the plan’s formulary
As with the choices related to your healthcare providers, it is important that you confirm that the medications you need are covered within the health plan(s) that you are choosing from. This can be determined by identifying if your medications are in the formulary of the health plan(s).
- Discover if it is an advantage to get separate policies for family members
By far, the majority of potential enrollees of a health plan would rather have one plan which covers the entirety of those who are in their family. Makes since, right? However, with the increasing cost of things such as surcharges for the coverage of spouses and other members of the family, sometimes it may be better to split up the family coverage into more than one policy. An example of this would be if a husband and wife are working at different jobs which both offer health insurance coverage. After reviewing the policies and other factors such as overall health, it may be smarter to acquire a health plan for each individual at their own place of work!!!