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What to Know Before Buying Health Insurance

Photography showing a stethoscope next to a heart.

Medical costs can add up if you don’t have health insurance. For example, if you break your leg, you might have to pay $7,500 in expenses. 

What if you have to stay in the hospital for three days? That will cost around $30,000 if you don’t have insurance. Fortunately, buying health insurance will protect you from these substantial medical bills. Get the details so that you can buy the best health insurance for your needs. 

Buying Health Insurance – Understanding the Metal Categories

When you compare health insurance, you’ll notice that plans are separated into metal tiers. You can buy a policy in the Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum tiers. You can save on monthly premiums with a Bronze plan, but you will spend more money out of your pocket when getting care. 

Platinum plans come with the highest premiums and the lowest costs when you go to the doctor or see a specialist. The premiums are slightly lower, and the out-of-pocket costs are a little higher with Gold plans. Silver plans sit in the middle; these are the best way to find a balance between out-of-pocket costs and deductibles.

Plan Types

Before buying health insurance, you need to understand plan types. You can get an HMO, PPO, POS, or EPO. Those three letters are crucial. Depending on what you choose, you might get to select your doctor and see a specialist without a referral. 

On the other hand, some plans charge high rates if you go out of the network and don’t let you do much of anything without prior authorization. 

happy couple with agent buying health insurance

Save With a Premium Tax Credit

You can get the best health insurance for less if you qualify for a premium tax credit. This is based on the amount of money you make and the number of people in your household. Premium tax credits only apply to Silver plans and can significantly reduce the amount you pay.

What to Expect With Coverage

Whether you buy family health insurance or an individual plan, you cannot be denied or charged higher based on pre-existing conditions. That means that even if you’ve had cancer, you will not pay more for health insurance. 

All plans must also include essential benefits, such as emergency room visits, outpatient care, preventative care, pregnancy and maternity services, and hospitalization. 

Your plan will also cover your prescription medication, lab tests, and pediatric services. You’ll even have access to substance abuse and mental health service when you buy coverage. 

Add-on Services

When you compare health insurance, you’ll also see that some plans include add-on services, such as dental and vision. If you’re looking for the best health insurance, compare plans with add-on services so you can get the most comprehensive coverage.  

When to Enroll

You can enroll in health insurance during the open enrollment period. Generally, open enrollment goes from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2020. If you buy a plan during the open enrollment, it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. There are some states with extended periods, so make sure to check on yours.

You also might qualify for a special enrollment period. This is available if you’ve experienced a qualifying event, such as getting married or divorced, having a baby, or becoming a dependent. 

How to Compare Health Insurance Plans

Now that you know about buying health insurance, it’s time to take the next step. Contact a licensed insurance agent, so you can compare plans and find the best one for you.

At Freeway Insurance, we can help you navigate the health insurance maze. Our licensed and experienced agents will help you apply for, select, and enroll in the health insurance plan that best suits you and your family. 

We can help you if you are a resident in California, Arizona, Washington, Florida, or Texas. Start your free quote online or give us a call today.

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