When you choose a health insurance plan for your family, there are a lot of different factors to consider. You’re no longer just worried about your own health. You also have a spouse and children to consider. That makes everything a little more stressful.
At the same time, you know it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can’t always predict the future, but you know it’s worth investing in health insurance today to ensure you don’t find yourself in an expensive situation tomorrow. For example, an average trip to the emergency room can cost you up to $3,000 if you don’t have insurance, and this is just for a minor amount of care.
Because you know you need to protect your family, read through this guide to the best health insurance for your family. From understanding different plans to knowing how to choose the right option for your needs, this guide has you covered.
Choose Your Plan Type
Your first big decision will be to choose the right plan type. Depending on whether you go through the healthcare marketplace, a private insurance broker, or your employer, you’ll have a few different plans to choose from. Because these can be complicated, let’s take a closer look at what makes them each unique.
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – With an HMO, you’ll need to stay in-network to get coverage, but you can still visit outside providers for emergency care. You’ll need a referral for specialist care, but you’ll also have lower out-of-pocket costs for treatments.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – Next, a PPO offers much more flexibility with your provider since you don’t need to stay in-network. However, you’ll pay less if you do stay within the network of providers.
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – With an EPO, you’ll need to stay in-network for coverage but you won’t need a referral for specialist care. This is a good low-cost option if you want to avoid the time and expense of referrals.
- Point-of-Service (POS) – Finally, with a POS plan, you don’t need to stay in-network for coverage. However, you’ll pay less if you do stay in-network with your providers. This gives you more provider options as well as a primary doctor who is responsible for referrals.
If you’re not sure which plan type is right for you, HealthMarkets is a company that helps with just that. By seeing a breakdown of different plan types, costs, and provider networks, you can come to the right decision for your family.
Additional Health Insurance Tips for Families
While you’ll most likely choose one of the above plans to get coverage for your entire family, there are some additional tips you’ll want to keep in mind. Keep these things below in mind to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.
Compare provider networks.
Before making a decision, ensure you’ve taken a look at the provider network. Each insurance provider has a different list of doctors, hospitals, and specialists that are considered “in-network.” If you have a primary care doctor you like to see, make sure this doctor is included. If you live in a rural area without many providers, choosing a flexible plan will give you more options.
Remember the out-of-pocket costs.
No plan will cover every treatment of 100%. That’s why it’s essential that you compare out-of-pocket costs for each plan. Your summary of benefits will lay out just how much you’ll need to pay for services. Look at some of the more common services like doctor visits and preventative care to make sure you budget for these expenses.
Don’t forget the supplemental benefits.
Last but not least, keep in mind any supplemental benefits. For example, many plans don’t provide dental insurance or travel insurance. You might want to look into these add-ons or whether a more expensive plan includes these extras. In addition, check that your medications are covered and different travel requirements. These small things really add up to your family.
Choose Your Plan with Confidence
Now that you know how to choose the best health insurance plan for your family, you’re ready to make the right decision. Health insurance has a bit of a learning curve in the United States, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be confident about your choice.
As long as you take these tips and guidelines above seriously, you’re well on your way to health insurance coverage you can count on. Like we said before, you always want to be safe instead of sorry.