With only a few days left to find a new health insurance policy for 2015, the pressure is on to get insurance quotes and figure out what best suits your family in terms of finances, health and protection. It’s certainly not a fun job; particularly if you’re a small business owner or individually insured person whose rates have skyrocketed in the past year, someone whose past insurance is null and void as of January 1 or someone who used to have affordable insurance and no longer does. Health insurance is vital, and it’s going to help you stay away from financial disaster. However, it’s difficult to understand sometimes, and the options are endless.
Additionally, some people aren’t aware how to make the best decision when it comes to health insurance. Sure, this plan might cost less over the course of the year, but it might not cover what you need it to cover and could end up costing far more over the year than a slightly more expensive plan with more comprehensive coverage. We don’t claim to be insurance experts, but we can help you learn a little bit about insurance quotes, what they mean and how they will work for you in the future.
What Life Factors Might Affect My Insurance Quote?
Here’s the catch when it comes to insurance quotes; so many different things can affect what you are quoted, and it’s never a good idea to rely on what someone else has or receives to get an idea of what you might pay. Your sister might have been quoted something outrageous, but that doesn’t mean you will be. For example, if you are a smoker or a drinker, your rates will automatically be higher than someone who does not smoke or drink. If you have health issues already, you will likely pay higher rates. If you are overweight or obese, you might pay a different rate. Even your age affects your health insurance quotes and what you will pay when you finally decide on an insurance policy for you or your family.
A Less Expensive Monthly Payment is Not Always the Best Option
Most people look at insurance as a way of saving, and that is a great way of looking at it. However, you’re looking at the savings portion all wrong. You are not supposed to look at the monthly payment so much as you are supposed to look at the overall payment over the course of the year. For example, if you have a low payment, you have a high deductible. Can you afford that? If something catastrophic happens, will that high deductible leave you in debt and unable to pay your medical bills?
Yes, you do have to consider the monthly payment because you do have to be able to afford it. However, if you don’t consider other monetary scenarios as well, you could end up hurting even more. Another example is this; if you have children who have to see the doctor, you have to consider what you will pay out of pocket for each visit. Most plans offer free well-checks throughout the year for your kids, and that’s great. However, other appointments for illness or those runny noses or those pesky frequent ear infections might cost you full price. What does that mean? That means your insurance will negotiate a price for you, but it could be anywhere from $50 to $250 per visit depending on the services rendered. So the option of not having a co-pay so that you can have a lower monthly payment might not be a good idea if you have a few kids and they get sick throughout the year.
Your Quote Might Not Be Final
Most people assume that their quote is something final; it’s not. Your final price could vary significantly, not at all or only a little. You have to provide very generic information to receive a health insurance quote, but very specific information to actually receive coverage for your health insurance. If you provide that specific information, you might see an increase in the rate you were quoted, a decrease or even a rate that’s pretty much right on. Any number of things can affect this, and you just never know what will until you receive that final quote. What you cannot do, however, is rely completely on that quote until you are given a final contract price. It’s a good idea to go into your quote search with an open mind and an understanding that what you’re told right now may not be anywhere close to what the end result might be.
Not Everything is Covered
This is something some people know and other people are surprised to learn. When you are given a quote for insurance, it might not be everything you want. It might not include additional coverage – or riders – that you need. For example, you might need maternity coverage, and that’s not included in the base price. You might pay an additional $100+ for that coverage. You also will not see vision insurance or dental insurance in this coverage. These are both extra services you will pay for each month, though they are typically far less expensive. For example, you might receive dental coverage for the entire family by adding an additional $9 a month to your insurance premium. It’s not so bad, but it is important to remember that it is not something you are quoted immediately unless you ask for it.
There are many factors to consider when searching for health insurance quotes; and that requires knowing what you want, how you need to pay and what you can afford both in the moment and in the long run. Insurance is not a definite thing; it’s so different, and it’s so all over the map in terms of things such as in-network provider information out-of-network provider information. There is much to consider; and it does take a lot of research and knowledge to find a plan that works well for your family.
Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images