When you are young, healthy, and single, you might not realize how important a healthcare plan is, let alone the right healthcare plan specifically for you. Once you have a family, though, things tend to change – including your thoughts on health care. Selecting the right healthcare plan for you and your loved ones is an important decision. Fortunately, there are a few key tips that will help you along the way.
Compare Plan Types
Companies are increasingly making changes to their healthcare services to meet consumer demands. In turn, it is important to know the different types of plans out there before making a choice on behalf of your family. The two most well-known types of plans are an HMO, or health maintenance organization, and a PPO, or preferred provider organization. Both types of plans ensure that your family has coverage that meets the legal limits for healthcare. PPOs tend to be more affordable because there are fewer in-network providers; they also tend to be state-specific. HMOs, on the other hand, are more costly but provide you with a broader range of providers that is not state-specific. If you have multiple options, check your own family’s needs before deciding on the right option.
Look at the Whole Cost
When you begin to make your selections, keep in mind that more goes into healthcare costs than just the monthly premium. In general, a lower monthly premium means a higher deductible and vice versa. The deductible is the amount of money you must pay before your healthcare provider begins paying for services. You will also want to keep in mind how much essential medical services and items like prescriptions cost under your plan. A healthcare savings account (HSA) is also a way to offset high costs by setting aside money in advance that can be used for health care. This amount is not counted as income for tax purposes.
Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term
When selecting your healthcare plan, keep the future in mind. Do you tend to get sick? Does your little one go to the doctor on a regular basis for a chronic condition? Maybe your spouse needs regular prescriptions filled. If you use your benefits regularly, you will want a more comprehensive plan. These plans might cost more upfront but will save you more money in the long run.
Remember that you are investing in your future. Healthcare plans are an important part of life in the US. Having a good healthcare plan can help you and your family be prepared for the unexpected. You never know if you’ll need that extra coverage for your child’s eyeglasses.