Take Control of your Health Insurance

By Compuquotes Team on May 9th, 2008

Health Insurance

Your health is important, and that means your health insurance is, too. For a number of reasons, however, it can be difficult to take control of your health insurance, and reduce your costs while increasing the effectiveness of the benefits your insurance provides. If you're on an employer health plan, for example, this can be quite a difficult think to achieve. When it comes to health insurance, making the most of what you've got is more about learning how your insurance works, than it is about learning where you can save.

Do you understand what type of insurance plan you're protected by? Do you know what type of plan you have? Don't make the mistake of thinking you don't have a choice in the matter if you've got employer health care. Very often you can choose between two or more different types of health plan, particularly if you work for a large employer. Each plan is quite different, and if you're not aware of the plan you've got, you may actually end up paying more than you need to for your healthcare. If you've got a plan that isn't suitable for your family, that decision could have already cost you plenty.

This means it's important to understand your choices before selecting a plan. Health plans aren't all created equal-HMO, PPO, POS, FFS-and you need to understand what each plan entails, and how you can most benefit, before making a choice.

There are some crucial questions to answer before choosing a health plan. Think about the following questions, and how they apply to your health plan. Then consider how well that really works for your family.

  • Do you have to choose a primary care doctor?
  • Can you visit non-network healthcare providers? If you do, how much do you have to pay per visit?
  • Do you have to get a primary care referral before visiting a specialist? If so, how much does it cost to visit a specialist without a referral?
  • Do you have to pay co-payments or a deductible? If so, how much? What's the single person rate as compared to the family rate?
  • Does your plan cover preventative healthcare visits, such as for immunizations, well baby check-ups, and mammograms?
  • Does your plan include prescription, dental, or vision coverage?

Does your Plan Suit your Needs?

Once you understand how your plan works, you can then determine whether it actually works for you at all.

For example, if you and your family are generally in good health, and only require preventative doctor visits for immunizations and other preventative healthcare, then choosing a low-deductible high-premium healthcare plan might be costing you unnecessarily. Not all healthcare plans cover these types of preventative visits, and you might be better off choosing a self-directed health plan that provides you with money to pay for preventative care, rather than reimbursing for treatment.

On the other hand, if you have several young children, and doctor's visits are a frequent thing for your family, a self-directed plan may not work for you at all. In this case, you might be better off with a point of service plan that provides you with flexible network health care and the option to use a non-network provider.

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