Choosing the most appropriate health coverage is not a rosy affair, and health reform has made the situation even worse, particularly for individuals whose employers provide their insurance plan choices. The differences in benefits, premiums, and other payments are among the factors to consider. Keep in mind that recent law changes may negatively or positively affect your future coverage. Follow these 10 tips to find yourself a favorable policy.
1. Analyze Your Needs in Advance and Plan Accordingly
The best health insurance policy is one tailor-made to suit your specific needs. Therefore, identify your needs before you look for a policy. For instance, what family members do you intend to cover? Are they elderly, suffering a terminal illness, or do you have plans to start a family? Narrow down your specific short-term and long-term needs, and choose accordingly.
2. Settle on an Economical Insurance Company
In this case, economical does not mean cheap, but rather appropriate. It is possible to purchase health insurance either from a general or a life insurance company. It is, however, worth noting that the former has more of an emphasis on health insurance. Financial experts deduced that it is much less expensive to buy health insurance from a general insurance company as compared to a life insurance company. Consult licensed insurance agents before making this choice.
3. Inquire About Varying Types of Health Insurance
Understanding each and every health insurance policy available is key to settling on the appropriate one. Therefore, it's okay to ask as many questions as possible to fully understand them. Different families have different policy needs.
4. Identify Recognized Partners
Each individual insurance company has their own network of recognized service providers. This refers to partnering doctors, laboratories, hospitals, among other healthcare providers. If a policy does not recognize a particular service provider, that means you may need to pay most of, and in some instances, the entire medical bill.
Thus, make sure your preferred choice of healthcare providers are among the approved providers. If you do not have particular preferences, consider the providers' specialties in terms of your family needs and proximity to your home in case of an emergency.
5. Prioritize the "Sum Assured"
In simple terms, "sum assured" refers to the maximum amount of cash that the insurer may reimburse or make available for medical coverage to a policyholder in a single policy year. Carefully make this choice, and keep in mind the rising cost of medical care. However, do not take this to mean that you should choose a very high sum assured as that means you have to pay a high premium. Choose a policy whose premiums you can pay comfortably without any complications.
6. Beware of Freebies on Offer
Most upcoming insurance companies come onto the market with numerous free offers to lure in new clients. Be very careful not to fall for commons trap. These offers are often not free as you end up paying for them in other ways. Do not pick a policy just because of the freebies; instead, look at the policy as a whole.
It is advisable to conduct extensive research and background checks on all these companies. There are many companies in existence and many more pop up regularly. The only sure way to determine their trustworthiness is by researching, interacting with their existing customers, and talking to the company agents.
7. Read Existing Reviews and Compare Policies
The best way to find out about the negatives regarding anything is by reading online reviews. They can help you identify which companies come through in times of emergency and which boast high client satisfaction. Comparing policies within a company and between various companies is also a good way of feeling out the market, and figuring out what best suits your needs. A good policy package from one company may not be necessarily as good as one with the same name from a different company.
8. Explore all the Clauses in Detail
A health insurance policy often has a number of clauses. You should take the time to read through each clause and make sure you understand each and every clause. Moreover, ask questions to get clarification on any clause you do not comprehend.
One of the most important clauses is the renewability clause. Certain companies state in this clause that the policy expires once the insured reaches a specified age. This could render you without health insurance when you really need the coverage. In such a case, it is more sensible to choose a policy that offers coverage for a lifetime.
Also of importance are the clauses regarding pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. Most policies state that for those with such conditions, the policy is only active after a stipulated period of time. Lastly, the maternity clause is crucial as well because most companies leave out maternity costs in their policies.
9. Assess the Flexibility of the Policy
Always go for a policy that allows you to continue paying the old premium amount for some time after an illness before requiring any re-adjustments. In addition, opt for one that does not add interest or other charges on the increased premium.
10. Check for a No-claim Bonus or Discount Offer
Some companies encourage their customers to keep fit and healthy by offering incentives. They usually include a discount offered on the next year’s premium or a bonus following unclaimed insurance in a policy year. Look for these sorts of offers when considering a health insurance policy.