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Buying individual health insurance: 3 essential tips from a health insurance specialist

When you buy individual health insurance, you will likely be overwhelmed by the prices and options of online health plans.

Health insurance is now one of the costliest items in many people's budgets, but it can also be one of the best decisions you make if you have some know-how in selecting the right health plan. for you and your family. 

Here I am going to give you the 3 essential tips that I advise my clients to use when purchasing individual health coverage.

Tip 1: Don't take health insurance advice from someone who is absolutely not qualified to give you this advice !!

I cannot stress this enough. I am amazed at how many sane people take advice on health insurance to choose from totally unqualified people to give you this critical advice. For example, when I see health insurance messes (which I see almost every day) and ask where they got their health plan information from, I inevitably hear things like: " My brother-in-law told me to choose this health plan, he was working in the hospital. "Or" I read an article that said this is the best plan available. " Etc. 

Everyone has an opinion on which health plan you should choose. Just because they are your loved ones or involved in a totally unrelated health field, doesn't mean they know the answers to your individual needs and questions! Work with an insurance specialist BEFORE problems arise! You have no idea how many clients I have worked with who come to me after choosing an online health plan and then have an insurance coverage issue and expect me to fix it, I want to tell them: you should have come to me for help before! Most insurance specialists are paid by insurance companies, so their services are free for you. USE THEM !!

Tip 2: determine your real needs.

The three things to keep in mind when determining your needs are: budget, doctor and hospital visiting habits, and prescription drug use. Ask yourself these questions: How often do you see your doctor? Are you going for checkups only or are you going for sick visits? How many times have you been to the hospital in the past 2 years? Are you taking regular prescriptions? What are they? Generic or brands? This is another area where most of my clients overlook. It is not possible to have maximum coverage in all of these areas affordably, maximum coverage for doctor and hospital plus prescriptions leaves a dent in the budget. 

However, most health insurance plans offer more than one version of the same plan. For example, let's say you have "Health Plan A" that provides maximum coverage for the doctor, maximum coverage for the hospital, and maximum coverage for your prescription drugs. But “health plan A” costs the same as your mortgage. The good news is that 'Health Plan A' most likely has customizable options as well, which means that if, after analyzing your needs, you find that you rarely visit a hospital, you could change the 'plan's hospital coverage.

 A ”health care coverage in moderate or even minimal coverage will significantly reduce the premium. If these options confuse you, then again, a health insurance specialist can help. They are already familiar with the customizable features of “Health Plan A” and can match your needs to the appropriate version of “Health Plan A”. A health insurance specialist also has access to versions of health plans that are not available as options for the average consumer who purchases health insurance online.

Tip 3: resist the urge to over-belay !!

After analyzing your needs, resist the urge to over-insure! Overinsurance is one of the most common damage to health insurance. People think that if they have maximum coverage for doctors, hospitals, and prescriptions, they have “good” insurance. The truth is, most people who are approved for individual health insurance won't need all of that coverage. Two things I advise my clients to be aware of: health care reform and stop-loss. First, the health care reform allows for 100% coverage of preventive care services. For example, if you only get checkups, why buy the plan with 100% doctor visit coverage? Join the plan with a lower premium and pay a $ 10 co-payment for your sick visit. The premium difference with this little detail is $ 100 dollars! Also, some of these “maximum coverage” health insurance plans exclude things like pregnancy. The last thing you want to do is pay a small fortune for “good” health insurance only to find that it won't cover something you need! Second, most health insurance plans have a built-in stop-loss which basically states that when your out-of-pocket expenses reach a certain amount, the plan will cover you 100% for all services. And you don't need the “maximum coverage” plan for this benefit. Your health insurance specialist can even customize this stop-loss amount!

Then, select your plan after following My 3 essential tips:

1. Don't take health insurance advice from someone unqualified to offer that advice. Look for a health insurance specialist, they have researched and are licensed to offer you this advice and it is free for you. USE THEM !!

2. Consider your real needs. Ask yourself questions so that you know what the specific needs of your health plan are, that way you can make sure you choose a plan that meets them. After all, if you don't know what you really need in a plan, how will you know if you've found the right solution?

3. Resist the urge to over-belay! Health care reform has changed the number of plans that work and you may be able to get full or exceptional coverage without overinsuring. And above all, without the high premiums!

There you go, online health insurance buyers! Hope this has been helpful!