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Health Insurance Buying Tips

Health reform will affect every citizen and legal resident in America.

“The new health law establishes new consumer protections and responsibilities.”

Health Insurance Buying Tips | The Health Insurance Marketplace | The Affordable Care Act | Health Reform | HealthCare.govBuying a health insurance policy is probably one of the most important purchases you will make in your life. With the expense of medical treatments these days, you could be ruined if you don’t have insurance.

Choosing which health insurance plan is right for you and your family depends on several factors the most important – your age, employment status and whether your employer offers you insurance or you have to buy on your own.

Understand what health insurance is.

Good health insurance will protect you from medical expenses you don’t have money for. A poor health insurance plan might not cover certain procedures, and with the way things are – it is possible that’s exactly the procedure you need. Then you are stuck.

The perfect health insurance plan covers pretty well everything. Of course, you will have to pay the premium which is based on a number of factors.

The more the plan covers, the higher the premium. A good policy should also cover, or at least limit out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and accommodations.

Many people will resist the temptation to take a lower-end policy to either save on the premium or have a high deductible. This might work for years, when you are younger and in good health. But a policy like that can come out and bite you later in life. It is a good idea to upgrade your policy as you age.

Understand and take advantage of Health Care Reform.

The Affordable Care Act is changing the country’s health care system. In 2014 almost all Americans will have access to affordable health insurance.

These plans at the very least will cover essential care. The Health Insurance Marketplace is where it all starts. healthcare.gov.

Understand the plan’s details.

This is getting easier in the fall of 2013. With the exception of Medicare, all insurance plans will have to provide a standard “Summary of Benefits and Coverage”. This is good news, because in the “old” days any insurance policy was difficult to really understand.

Don’t set the policy to auto renew.

Many, if not most plans will be set to auto-renew so you don’t have to think about it year after year. But this also takes away the benefit of checking the plan, and shopping around for a better plan. Health insurance plans change often. And your personal situation might also change. It pays to shop around every year.

Watch out for limited-benefits plans.

You have probably heard on radio or seen on TV offering “affordable” insurance policies. You can get these even if you are in poor health. “No one will get refused” is the pitch. They are less expensive because they cap what they will cover for most procedures. Most people just don’t know how expensive a stay in the hospital can be. So when we see that this insurance will cover any hospital stay for $1,000 per day, we think that’s a lot. But it isn’t. Hospital stays can cost TEN times that, so you are on the hook for the balance. They might also limit how many visits to the doctor you can have, or pay little or nothing for long-term illnesses such as cancer and chemo treatment.

Avoid all together what’s sold as “Medical Discount” plans.

These border on scams. They offer discounts at doctors, hospitals and other medical services. Usually at places with inflated prices to start with. Many such offers are true scams, and the FTC is watching.

Health Insurance Buying Tips | The Health Insurance Marketplace | The Affordable Care Act | Health Reform | HealthCare.gov

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