Choosing a family insurance plan is one of the most important decisions a family will make. Given the wide range of options available, it can be difficult to determine the best plan for your family's situation. Selecting the right insurance involves a balance between finding a plan that meets your budget while making sure you are comprehensively covered. To help make your task easier, here are the six things you need to know before you choose your family health insurance.
1. Select the Right Type of Family Health Insurance Plan
There are three basic choices of family health insurance plans. These are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Point of Service (POS) plans. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. With an HMO, you need to use providers from within the network. While this is less flexible than the other types of plans, it tends to be more affordable. With a PPO, you can choose a provider from within the network or select physicians outside of the network for a higher fee. If you have a POS plan, you usually need to select a primary-care physician from inside the network, but you can go outside for additional treatment options.
2. Compare Your Options
The two best places to start looking for family health insurance plans are Healthcare.gov and eHealthInsurance. These health insurance marketplaces allow you to quickly determine if you can save money on your monthly premiums based on your household size and income. There are four different ways of accessing the government health insurance marketplace, including online, telephone, mail or with a navigator (someone who assists with the process). In addition to Healthcare.gov, you may also want to use the private marketplace, eHealthInsurance. EHealthInsurance is a clearing house for health insurance providers and has been in business since 1999.
3. Consider a Higher Deductible
For some families, it can make sense to choose a family health care plan that has a higher deductible. If you and the other members of your family are in good health and have sufficient savings, then a high-deductible plan can save you money. If your employer offers a High Deductible Health Insurance plan (HDHP), you may also be able to take advantage of a Health Savings Account (HSA). This allows you to save for medical expenses using your pretax salary. These savings can be used to pay for the deductible on your plan. If you want to use your HSA for expenses other than medical costs, you will be taxed on the withdrawn amount.
4. Confirm that Your Primary-Care Physician Is Included
Before selecting family health insurance, you should make sure that your primary-care physician is included in the provider network. If you are in a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan, you must go to your primary doctor first before receiving treatment from any other specialist. It is important you are comfortable with your primary-care physician, as they will be the touch point for all medical care that you will receive.
5. Check Your Maximum Coverage
One of the most important figures that you need to look at when choosing family health insurance is your maximum coverage. Family health insurance policies can be complex, but the maximum coverage figure is one way to make a quick comparison. The higher this number the better, with, ideally, at least $3 million in coverage. While this figure may seem high, if one of your family members suffers from severe medical problems, you may need it.
6. Make Adjustments as Your Family Situation Changes
As your family changes, you may need to make adjustments to your plan. If an adult child returns home to live with you or is out of work, you may want to add them to your family plan. You can usually add a child up to the age of 26. Also, if you are considering having another child, you may want to add maternity coverage.
Family health insurance can be a complex issue, but it is too important to ignore. Thankfully, health insurance marketplaces have made the task of comparing your options simpler. With some careful research, you will almost certainly be able to find adequate health insurance at a price that you can afford.