Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Health Insurance 101

It never fails to amaze me when I hear a patient talking about how much they hate their current insurance policy. “They are horrible” “They pay nothing” “It’s such a waste of money” “It’s so expensive each month”. These are just a few of the things I hear almost on a daily basis. At the end of the day it is your money that goes into your healthcare so why not take charge when it comes time for you to choose your healthcare policy.

For many people health insurance is something that is only utilized when they become sick. So what do people do? They go the inexpensive route. I will admit I too would look at the cheapest offer first. But what exactly are you getting out of it? Cheap is not always better and when it comes to your health, it shouldn’t be.

In this entry I hope to offer you some advice on deciding which policy to switch to.

What kind of policy do you need? When looking for a policy there is a variety of things that you want within the plan. Keep in mind who it is for; yourself, your spouse, your children. What specialties do you visit often? Are emergency room visits a priority?

Education. HMO, PPO, POS. They aren’t just letters associated with health insurances; they mean something. Take the time to learn what they mean because when deciding on your future policy they can either help or hinder you.

Research companies. Take initiative and read about the different kinds of insurances that are out there. There are a huge variety of them with both pros and cons. All insurance companies are not the same and do not offer the same benefits. If they did, there wouldn’t be so many to choose from. Read, call, and question everything you do not understand. Educating yourself will help you gain knowledge.

Network Status. There is nothing worse than coming for years to your favorite primary care doctor or specialist, only to find that your new insurance plan is no longer in network. Be proactive and find out what insurance your favorite medical providers accept to help you decide on a policy.

Get familiar with your out-of-pocket expense. So many times a patient is shocked to hear their co-payment amounts or how high their deductible is. When you are looking at your policy options you can also learn beforehand what these amounts will be. Often times an individual sees that they may have a high deductible then covered at 100% at a small monthly fee. Although you are saving money the downside of this is you are walking into your medical appointment and being told that you are paying your deductible and this amount is $100 per visit. Trust me, this has happened before and it won’t happen to you if you know what you’re looking for and educate yourself.

​The whole insurance ordeal can be tricky but taking charge can put you in the right place so that you won’t get trapped in a low allowable visit amount or high deductible policy.

Von Petteway
Duffy & Bracken Verification Specialist