Medical Insurance: What To Look For

We all know that having access to medical care is important. Whether it’s a routine check-up with the doctor or a dreaded trip to the emergency room, knowing we have medical care when we need it is almost invaluable.

With medical insurance, you’ll always have access to care. So what medical insurance plan should you choose? Let’s take a look at the medical insurance basics.

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Common Types of Medical Insurance

These days, the most common type of medical insurance are managed care plans including HMO, PPO, and POS plans. All of these plans are considered ‘managed care’ because they create networks of health care providers, where policyholders can get the most affordable care.

The deal of managed care works well for just about everyone: the insurance company gets a discount on medical care, the care providers get patient referrals, and most importantly, the policyholder gets affordable premiums, copayments, and deductibles.

There are also indemnity Fee-For-Service (FFS) health plans. These plans provide coverage based on medical service rather than medical care provider. In contrast to managed care, FFS plans don’t work with networks. If a medical service is covered by an indemnity plan, you’ll get equal coverage no matter which doctor you see.

The Advantage of Your Own Medical Insurance Plan

These days there are really only two ways to get medical insurance — getting a plan through your employer or buying your own medical coverage from an insurance company.

Neither route to medical insurance is necessarily better than the other, but there are some key advantages of getting your own plan rather than through an employer.

Fewer Options with an Employer Plan

With an employer-sponsored medical plan, you’re restricted to whichever type of coverage that your company offers. If your employer only offers a PPO plan, but you’d like more options, you’re out of luck.

But with your own individual medical insurance plan, you can explore all your medical insurance options to see if an HMO, POS, or FFS plan might best fit your needs.

Customized Individual Coverage

Another disadvantage of employer coverage is that you could be stuck with whatever level of coverage your place of work offers. You could end up paying for coverage you don’t need — or worse, you might not get the coverage you need.

With your own individual medical insurance plan, you can get tailor-made coverage for your health and budget needs.

Cost

One of the biggest advantages of many employer plans is cost. Some employers fully pay for medical insurance for their workers or pay a share of the premiums. But with medical costs increasing at the rate they are today, a lot of companies are forced to up insurance rates for workers, or drop medical benefits completely.

If you shop smart, you can find a better rate on an individual medical insurance plan.

Which Plans To Consider

No matter what your health and budget needs are, there are plenty of options to choose. So which medical insurance plan should you consider?

If you want comprehensive coverage for yourself, or even a family, consider an HMO or PPO plan. They provide coverage for a range of medical services, including preventive care, hospital care, and major medical care. They also feature affordable monthly premiums, low copayments, and flexible deductibles.

Keep in mind that you’ll save the most money on your care if you stay inside your medical insurance plan’s health care provider network . In the case of HMOs, your care is only covered with in-network doctors.

If you’d like to get the lowest premiums possible, and want coverage in case of emergency, consider a high-deductible health plan. High-deductible plans won’t provide the most comprehensive coverage, but you’ll save on your premiums and know you’ll be covered if you need serious care.

With a high-deductible medical insurance plan, you can also open a Health Savings Account (HSA), which lets you save money tax-free for medical expenses. Use the funds in your HSA to pay for everything from a routine trip to the doctor to over-the-counter medication.

If you’d rather not have to worry about getting your care from specific networks, consider an indemnity Fee-For-Service plan. FFS plans are more expensive, but some like the freedom to see any doctor they choose — and have equal coverage everywhere.

Also, be sure to consider extra coverage you might want to add. For example, if you’re planning on started a family, make sure the medical insurance plan you choose includes maternity care. Dental and vision coverage are also extra benefits you’ll need to add to your medical insurance plan.

Comparing Your Options

If you’re ready to find your medical insurance plan, start by getting free quotes from local agents, or view instant quotes and apply online for your coverage. If you’d like to speak with an agent directly, we can connect you with an agent in your area right now.

Your quotes are always no-obligation and absolutely free.

Want to learn more about medical insurance? Get a complete course on medical insurance in our Information Center.