Guide to Choosing the Right Cheap Health Insurance Plans
Most Americans understand the importance of getting their health insurance plan. It has a vital role in everyone’s life, as it protects people from unexpected medical expenses.
However, time is limited when choosing the right insurance plan that matches your needs and lifestyle—and many people do not realize that buying the wrong insurance plan can be costly.
Planning to get your insurance plan soon? We have gathered all the important things you should know when choosing the best health insurance plan on a budget. But before we dive into deeper details, such as health insurance costs, let us understand first the basics of health insurance plans.
CHOOSING THE BEST INSURANCE PLAN FOR YOU
In the United States, health insurance is commonly included in employer benefit packages.
However, if your employer does not provide you with a health insurance plan, you should look for your own through a private health insurance company.
Choosing the best insurance plan for you is way more complicated than buying it and paying for it monthly—and that is one of the main reasons why you should not only ask for premiums or health insurance quotes when picking your insurance.
If your company does not offer an employer-sponsored plan, and if you are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, you have the option of buying cheap health insurance policies from private companies or through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
In 2019, available health insurance quotes suggested that the average annual premiums are $7,188 for single coverage and $20,576 for family coverage.
The average premium for single coverage increased by 4% since 2018, and the average premium for family coverage increased by 5%.
Meanwhile, there are several kinds of health insurance plans, and each of these plans offers unique features that can complement your medical needs. Here are the most popular insurance plans:
HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATION (HMO)
HMOs, provide insurance coverage for their subscribers through a specific network of healthcare providers.
If you get health insurance quotes, you would see that premiums tend to be lower for HMOs because health providers have patients directed at them.
Typical features of an HMP include paying for its coverage for a monthly or annual fee.
PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATION (PPO)
PPO is a type of plan in which medical professionals and facilities provide services to insured individuals at reduced rates. Subscribers of a PPO plan can tap healthcare providers outside of this network of providers but the rates for seeing these providers are more expensive.
EXCLUSIVE PROVIDER ORGANIZATION (EPO)
EPO is a combination of HMO and PPO. With an EPO, you can only receive services from providers within a certain network, but exceptions can be made for emergency care.
HIGH-DEDUCTIBLE HEALTH PLAN (HDHP)
In all health insurance quotes that you’d find, you would notice that HDHP has a higher annual deductible than other insurance plans, while it typically has lower monthly premiums.
This plan suits young individuals or healthy people who don’t expect to demand healthcare services, unless they experience a medical emergency or accident.
It also offers access to a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account.
AVERAGE COST OF CHEAP HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
Looking at health insurance quotes might be confusing sometimes, as people get overwhelmed by numbers.
However, some studies have shown that getting your insurance plan can be more affordable than employer-sponsored plans.
For instance, data from the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that the average monthly premium for an employer-sponsored insurance plan for individual coverage in 2019 was $603, while family coverage was $1,725.
On the other hand, when you buy your own plan, the average cost of individual health insurance was $440. For families, the average monthly premium was $1,168.
Moreover, purchasing coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace may also qualify you for a Cost-Sharing Reduction subsidy and Advanced Premium Tax Credits, which can lower the amount you pay for premiums, deductible, and any co-payment and co-insurance you subscribed to.
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO CHOOSING A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN
CHOOSE YOUR HEALTH PLAN MARKETPLACE
If your employer does not provide health insurance, look for insurance on your state’s public marketplace to find the lowest premiums. When requesting health insurance quotes, you must enter your ZIP code to see which insurance companies offer their plans in your state.
COMPARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INSURANCE PLAN
While comparing plans, look for a summary of benefits. Online marketplaces usually provide a link to their health insurance quotes, summary, out-of-pocket costs, and which doctors you can see.
DETERMINE HEALTH PLAN NETWORKS
Remove from your options those plans that don’t have local in-network doctors and those with few provider options compared with other plans.
Finally, compare your options’ benefits and choose the one that matches your medical needs, budget, and lifestyle. Also, determine whether one of the plans covers a wider scope of services.