How to Get a Health Insurance: Step by Step
Many people, especially the young ones, feel like they are healthy enough to skip out on health insurance. However, with the ever-rising instances of health problems among all ages, getting health insurance is necessary.
Health insurance packages help you get preventive care and support you financially during medical emergencies. Without a health coverage plan, it is easy to find yourself with a crippling amount of medical debt.
Health insurance covers the medical expenses you have incurred, whether that is medical, surgical, prescription drug, or dental costs. Health insurance can either pay the care provider directly or reimburse the insured for the expenditures the person has incurred from a health emergency.
So, now you may be wondering how to get health insurance. We have created a step-by-step process on how you can go about getting the insurance you need.
1. Evaluate your needs
Determine your medical needs and those of your dependent family members if applicable. Identify what kind of healthcare you need at the moment and what you may need in the coming years. Do you have preferred doctors and will they be covered in the insurance you are getting? Do you always go to the dentist? Aside from asking these questions, consider the following:
- The average amount of your medical expenses annually
- The cost of medications you use regularly
- The budget you can set aside for medical needs
Learn about your options
Before signing up with a health insurance plan, you should first understand the different major types of insurance.
Health maintenance organization (HMO) plan – HMOs have their own network of doctors and healthcare providers. If you choose this plan, they will require you to choose a primary care physician (PCP) that belongs to their network. All the care you need will be coordinated through your PCP, and they will be the one to refer you to specialists or other healthcare providers when needed. HMOs typically offer lower monthly premiums and have lower copays and coinsurance. HMOs are ideal for people who just need basic medical care like annual checkups or immunizations.
Preferred provider organization (PPO) plan – Gives you the flexibility to choose any healthcare provider without requesting a referral from a primary care physician. Although you are allowed to use any healthcare provider in this plan, it will still be affordable if you choose providers within the PPO’s network. However, PPOs may have higher premiums than other insurance.
Get a quote
After you determine your healthcare needs and understand the types of insurance available, it’s time to look for a plan that suits your budget.
You may contact a licensed insurance agent when you begin shopping for a health plan. Insurance experts can give you a quote and help you choose the package that fits your needs. They can also check if you are eligible for any financial assistance, and help you walk through the enrollment process. And the best thing about it is it’s free!
A quick search on the internet could also lead you to insurance websites which can give you quotes. You can save this estimate and return later when you are ready to enroll.
Sign up for a plan
After you’ve come up with your decision on what plan to purchase, you can now proceed to enrollment. Insurance products have what is referred to as Open Enrollment Period (OEP). During this time, you can enroll yourself and/or your family in a health insurance plan for the next year. You can buy a plan from your preferred health insurance company or through the Marketplace. You should remember though, that not all insurers’ plans are available on the Marketplace, as individual insurers may offer more options if you contact them directly.
You can ask your licensed insurance agent if you would like more information about this. Open enrollment for Marketplace plans is scheduled once a year, and runs from November 1 to December 15. Some states have extended open enrollment periods and there’s a special enrollment period for those who have experienced a qualifying life event.
How to Get Health Insurance
Knowing how to get health insurance can be confusing. But by following these four simple steps, we hope that we’re able to help you in our own little way. Choosing a health plan is easy. Once you’re enrolled, you can relax and enjoy the security that comes with having a health insurance policy. Knowing that you and your family are insured can bring you peace of mind.