How to Compare Health Insurance Rates
Health insurance coverage can be a complicated issue that not everyone easily understands. But the more knowledge you have before purchasing a plan, the better your chances for getting both adequate and affordable coverage. There are a vast number of insurance companies out there offering different health insurance plans at different rates. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when shopping for coverage that will meet your family’s needs, yet at the most affordable rate. Plan your strategy before beginning the process of requesting multiple quotes and things should go a bit more smoothly.
Contact the leading health insurance carriers in your state and then compare coverage and rates (see Resources). This can be a challenging task for consumers, who need to be aware of the costs of the health care services they receive. When claims are paid by third-party insurers, however, the consumer often has no idea as to the actual cost. This can make it more difficult to compare costs and quality of services when trying to choose the right health care plan.
Ask the health company’s insurance representative to explain the different plans available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything related to a policy that you do not understand. While premium rates may seem like the number one issue, cost should not be the only factor you consider when comparing quotes from different companies.
Find out what medical services are not covered by an insurer’s contract. In some cases, even certain basic services may be excluded. Different providers can offer a variety of options to health care consumers. Variables that may determine whether a plan fits your family’s health care needs could include any current medical conditions or medications for family members. These are the things that can affect premium rates. A plan designed to meet one family’s needs may be a poor choice for someone else.
Inquire about other types of coverage to fill the gaps. For example, disability insurance to cover expenses for someone not able to work following illness or injury is certainly an alternative to consider.
Do your research. Ask beforehand if the company offers a guaranteed premium rate for a specific length of time. If not, inquire about the insurer’s history of rate increases. Some companies only offer lower rates the first year and then increase rates substantially after that.
Ask the insurance agent if you can review your health insurance coverage periodically. Consumers should sit down with their agents at least once each year to discuss whether a family’s or an individual’s situation has changed.