When it comes to taking out insurance of any kind, it can be a daunting process. There’s a lot to consider, ranging from the coverage you require to the price you’re able to pay. Finding the right policy at the right price is no mean feat and is of utmost importance to ensure you’re able to get support should you need it. All insurance is important, but the burden to get it right lies heaviest with health insurance. As the saying goes, your health is your wealth, and you need to make sure the insurance you choose is both affordable and practical.
For those new to taking out health insurance or looking to change provider, we’ve put together a list of the top seven things you need to bear in mind when taking out health insurance.
1. Prescription Cover
With almost half of the population taking prescription drugs every day, it’s safe to say prescription drug cover is a must when taking out health insurance. Most providers will classify drugs into different tiers, so before you take out cover, ask the provider for a list of drugs the insurance covers and request any information they have about a tier system. Make sure to read the fine print about name brand medications; not all insurers will cover name brand medication and will require that you take generic formula before you get the all-clear to try branded alternatives.
2. Check Deductibles
Most people pay for their health insurance every month and it’s the price of the monthly premium that most people pay attention to. It makes sense when you consider that this is the price that will impact a person’s finances the most, but it’s not the only thing you need to consider. Before you can claim on your health insurance, you will need to pay a deductible fee. Without paying your deductible, your insurer won’t pay out. What this means is you need to make sure you can afford your deductible at any one time. Usually, a low monthly premium means a higher deductible, so you need to factor this in. There’s no point paying a low monthly price if — when you need it — you can’t actually access cover because you can’t afford the upfront sum.
3. Critical Illness Policy
As well as general and emergency health coverage, you’ll want to ask health insurance providers about critical care coverage. This will provide you with cover should you fall ill with a long-term disease like cancer. The cost of treatment for a disease like cancer can be astronomical depending on the type of cancer and the treatment required. Undergoing life saving treatment like several rounds of chemotherapy or proton beam therapy can very quickly exhaust the coverage of a general insurance policy and leave you needing to pay out for treatment from your own pocket. This can leave your healthy savings account at a big fat zero in next to no time. Avoid his by asking about critical care. After all, diseases like cancer are extremely common nowadays, so it’s best to be covered should the worst happen.
4. Family Insurance
If you have a family, it’s well worth looking at family insurance plans. Not only will this give you peace of mind that your whole family are covered, but it’s much easier in terms of logistics and paperwork should anything go wrong. With everyone covered under one policy, you can rest easy that should anything go wrong with any member of your immediate family, they are entitled to coverage.
Most health insurers will have a list of providers they work with, and this means you can find yourself restricted as to which doctors you can see. If you’ve found a doctor you really like and trust, it’s worth seeing if they’re on the list of providers the health insurer covers. If not, you might have to choose another doctor. If you go and see a doctor who isn’t in your health insurer’s network, your claim might be denied and that could leave you severely out of pocket. When you do eventually choose an insurer, be mindful that networks can change year on year, so before you automatically renew, make sure you double check the network list.
6. Change of Circumstances
Life is a course of constant curveballs and it’s hard to determine what is going to happen in the year. That being said, big life events like marriage and children are usually planned for, so if you know either of these things is likely to happen in the upcoming year, make sure your health insurance can accommodate these changes. Before you renew or take out health insurance, double check the cost of these types of change in circumstances. If you’re not expecting any major life changes, take a look at the previous year and see what type of prescriptions you took out or whether or not you had to pay the deductibles or required any urgent care. If you didn’t and don’t anticipate any changes in the coming year, maybe there are elements of your health insurance that you can remove or change based on the previous year.
7. Additional Benefits
Health insurance most often isn’t cheap, so it’s only natural that when you’re paying the price you are every month, you’ll want some added benefits thrown in. Whether it’s the case of wellness programs or gym memberships, it’s worth the effort of asking healthcare providers what additional benefits they provide with their coverage. Of course, this shouldn’t dictate your overall decision, but it’s always nice to get something extra where possible.
These seven tips should help make the decision of taking out health insurance less daunting. Whatever policy you choose, make sure it works for you, it’s affordable and that you read the fine print.