For most countries in the OECD, healthcare is free provided by the government. While citizens also have the choice to go private. In the US, no such choice is given. Healthcare is private and it’s not cheap. Choosing your preferred insurance package is a big deal not to be taken lightly, so what should you consider before picking your favorite?
Know how much you want to spend. Having a rough figure in your head before you begin looking a health insurance plans is always a good idea. According the US Government’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average American will spend 5 percent of their gross annual income on health insurance.
Research what subsidies you may qualify for, these should be added on to your budget and can allow you to purchase a more comprehensive plan. Consumers should also take into account deductibles. If you can buy a higher tier plan your deductibles will be less. However, consider what kind of customer you have been and take special notice of what you’ll be covered for relative to what you think you’ll be claiming for.
Know who and what is covered
In the US system, not all physicians and prescription drugs are covered. If you have a trusted and favorite GP, check that they are covered by the insurance company. Remember that while they might be covered now that can still change down the line.
Also consider what drugs are covered on the plan. Formulary’s are the insurance company’s approved list of drugs so there is a way to check what is included before you purchase any plan. There can be restrictions on the amount you can be prescribed or the strength.
In life, it’s always be tempting to go for the cheaper option. However, on purchasing a cheaper insurance plan you may find yourself paying more on deductibles than you would have hoped. If you stay healthy for your whole plan you may be tempted to curse yourself, splashing out on a more expensive plan but it’s better to err on the side of caution and have that peace of mind.
In the end, take your time when choosing a health insurance package. Take into account the tips above and make sure to ask friends and family what healthcare plans they use and you’ll have more than enough information to choose the one that suits you best.