Even if health care reform passes, under its current 2,000+ page iteration it won’t take affect for several years. In the meantime, you still have choices and December and January are the right time to review your personal situation and make any necessary changes in your health care insurance.
If you have employer-provided health care insurance, December, January and February are often open-enrollment period – a time when you can make changes to your health care plan without the need to meet certain qualifying events . For instance, you may be able to opt for the less expensive HMO instead of the PPO. You may also have an opportunity to elect for a health savings account and declare your tax-exempt withholding.
If, however, you are self-employed or recently retired, the end of year/new year is as good a time as any to shop for personal health insurance quotes. Doing so could save you money or, at least, result in coverage that better suits your needs. Here are a few tips to help you make the health care insurance decisions that are right for you.
The fastest way to waste money is to buy more health insurance than you need or to buy several policies with overlapping coverage. Look for one comprehensive health care plan with a sufficiently high coverage limit – ideally, one that even a catastrophic medical event won’t use up – but with an annual premium and out-of-pocket you can comfortably afford. With online health insurance quotes readily available for comparison, that’s not as big a juggling act as it might sound. You also want to avoid individual health insurance policies that put a dollar limit on expenses or types of procedures. If you travel at all, make sure there are no exclusions on out-of-network care when you’re away from home. Being able to see a specialist without going through a primary care gatekeeper is a nice perk, too, but if you’re not picky about your providers, you can save money by going with an HMO plan for individuals.
Make a thorough assessment of your personal needs, review your existing policy and take your time shopping for a new health insurance plan. By understanding what you can and can’t live without, and with a little bit of flexibility on your part, you should be able to find an affordable personal health insurance plan. Just be sure to read all the fine print, including the exclusions and limitation, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions before you sign on the dotted line.