How to Approach a Health Insurance Comparison

The leading cause of bankruptcy among American families is the cost of health care.  Yet, by choosing the right insurance for you, you can mitigate this serious risk.  By choosing a plan that caters to your level of health and anticipates your needs, you will hedge risk around your personal health incident probability.  The following points are good advice for avoiding major pitfalls.  When conducting your health insurance comparison, please bear the following things in mind:

Know the difference between an HMO, a PPO, an EPO, a POS, etc.  The health care industry is full of jargon and specialized terms, and now is the ideal time for you to learn what each of them mean.  While many people know that HMOs are inexpensive but require policy holders to use providers in-network, and that PPOs allow patients to choose their own providers, but are also more expensive, few people know about other alternatives such as POS and what these innovative new structures provide.

Read the small print.  No thorough health insurance comparison can be conducted without a substantial reading of print.  You don’t have to read all the small print, but scan for the following parts that count:  how does your insurance company cover non-routine illnesses? Under what circumstances can your insurance company drop your coverage?  What rights does the insurance company hold in terms of policy holder privacy?  Under what circumstances can it change prices or alter other elements of your financial contract?  These are all answers worth knowing.

Periodically revisit how well your plan is working for you.  Though health insurance companies are set up to retain you indefinitely, nothing should stop you from periodically shopping around.  As the needs of the insured may change due to life events or illness, so also do preferences for health insurers change.

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