In some ways, buying an individual health insurance plan can seem relatively easy. You can search for and compare a range of plans from different carriers at your convenience, and you can get online health insurance quotes in seconds. Then, depending on the coverage you choose, the application and enrollment process may take only a few minutes.
That said, the process can also feel complex and overwhelming. Understanding health insurance can be difficult for many of us, and selecting the right plan is a relatively significant financial decision.
Here are six tips for making an online health insurance purchase you can feel good about, whether you are looking for an individual major medical plan or supplemental coverage such as critical illness, short-term medical, medical gap, or hospital and doctor coverage.
Purchasing health insurance is a financial commitment that can mean paying for more than you need or paying more for what you need if you do not select appropriate coverage.
What you consider to be an affordable, low-cost health insurance plan may differ from someone else’s definition. Regardless, what looks like cheap coverage based on premium alone could end up costing you more money out of pocket.
That’s why you need to look at the entire picture. What can you afford to spend on healthcare? Consider premium, copay, coinsurance, prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, services not covered by insurance and any other out-of-pocket medical expenses. Also factor in dental and vision coverage, as well as any ancillary coverage such as critical illness.
As we mention above, you can purchase Obamacare plans on and away from the ACA exchanges—a health insurance producer can help you shop for coverage on either. Supplemental coverage and short term medical plans can be purchased:
An online health insurance quote does not commit you to anything—here at HealtheDeals.com we don’t even require contact information unless you apply for coverage—so take your time with the decision.
Get a few quotes. Once you narrow them down to a handful that fit your budget, compare the details closely. Look at premium, coinsurance, prescription drug coverage, deductible, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs. Run the numbers as they apply to your expected use of benefits, and make sure the plan makes sense for your budget as well as your health care needs.
Take a closer look the top plans you are considering. Do they require you to see an in-network provider, or can you choose any provider? If you are required to seek in-network care, examine the plan’s provider list to ensure you have access to the doctors, specialists, clinics and hospitals you prefer or that are most convenient for you. If in-network care is not required, some plans may still contract with national provider networks and offer discounts for those who opt to utilize those network providers.
When you go to apply for a health insurance policy, at a minimum, you will need to have the birth dates, addresses, and coverage start dates of all applicants.
Some supplemental coverage is guaranteed issue, which means no underwriting and instant approval. Other plans may require you to answer a few brief health questions or more detailed information such as:
Have this information ready so you can sit down and complete the application without disruption—and, in turn, receive a faster response.
You will likely have many questions as you go through the process. Reach out for help before you apply and start paying premiums. Learn more about working with a health insurance producer here.
Call the number on your screen to speak with a producer from HealtheDeals.com!
Originally posted April 12, 2013. Updated and reviewed September 7, 2017.