Many people have been put in a position to choose health insurance, but if you don't know your options, you can't make a solid decision about this essential in your life.
How does one go about choosing health insurance? What are the options? How do you know if you're making the right choice to support not only your budget, but your personal needs? Choosing the right coverage for you can often seem very daunting but the more educated you are, the easier it will be to make this tough decision.
Short-term health insurance
This type of health coverage was brought about because people between jobs still need to have some sort of coverage and with the rising costs of benefits all together, the costs of COBRA's have climbed so high that they have become cost prohibitive for many who need temporary coverage.
Short-term coverage is just that: health insurance for the short term. This type of coverage was not meant for long term coverage needs, but is essentially meant to be a "buffer" for the times when you might not be able to get coverage through an employer.
Why it's great: Many people love this type of insurance because it is very cost effective. Through many companies you can get decent emergency coverage for a family of four for about $150 a month, as opposed to almost $1000 or more for a COBRA. This is good for you if you know you'll be getting employer based insurance in a few months to a year and have all of your physicals out of the way, but want to make sure that you have coverage should someone break an arm or need medical attention.
Why it's not so great: If you have ongoing medical expenses or will need to be going to get a check up, it's likely that your doctor's visits and prescriptions will not be covered under a plan of this kind. This can mean more out of pocket expenses for you.
Other health insurance coverage
Your other option might be to get your own health insurance coverage through a good insurance provider. These policies are much like the ones you would get through your employer, but they can cost a fair amount more than what you're used to. For instance, this kind of health insurance through a good provider might cost you as much as $350 to $400 monthly for a family of four. Granted, this is a PPO, which gives you more coverage options and greater flexibility when it comes to the need for referrals and on average, the coverage amount is 80/20 but the cost can also be a large chunk of money that has to go to your health insurance each month.
Why it's great: You can get coverage that you have specially built for the needs of you and your family. You can spend some time and get quotes depending on what you're interested in and this is a good option if you have children or tend to go to the doctor more frequently than other people. You can also build your coverage around your health care needs and in many cases get prescription drug coverage that will make the additional cost well worth it.
Why it's not great: For many pre-existing conditions there is a waiting period of up to a year on many policies, so if you have high blood pressure and have a heart attack within a year of your new coverage, the medical costs from your heart attack will not be covered. However, maintenance to prevent these situations may be. You will also need to consider whether or not you'll have to have a maternity rider and whether or not you're planning to have children in the near future.
All in all, you need to know that there are plenty of health insurance options available to you, so make sure to do your homework and check your budget before you commit to any individual plan.