Having health insurance in this day and age isn’t optional. Thanks to the rising costs of healthcare, not having insurance could leave you in a catastrophic financial situation. In 2017, 8.8% of Americans had no form of health coverage. While this might seem like an effective way to save money for your family, you’re really playing with fire.
When you’re shopping for an individual plan for just yourself, you don’t have to worry about providing coverage for your entire family. Whether you’re picking out insurance for your spouse only or your kids as well, you want to take this search seriously. Health costs aren’t always predictable when kids are involved, especially younger children. That’s why it’s essential you have a quality health insurance plan that you can afford.
Choose the Right Plan
When starting your search for healthcare, you’ll need to consider your situation. If you’re employed full-time, you might be able to get insurance coverage through your employer. This is likely your most affordable option for your family since your employer will cover a portion of the cost.
However, if you’re unemployed, not employed full-time, self-employed, or don’t qualify for employer insurance, you still have options. You can check this website for more information on your local healthcare marketplace. From here, you’ll see the plans available in your area and for your situation. You might even qualify for reduced-cost coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Once you’ve found your local marketplace, you’ll need to locate the available plans. Different private insurance providers will have a variety of plan options. These come with confusing names that might not make sense to the average consumer. Let’s break down what they each mean as well as who they’re a good fit for.
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – With an EPO, your care is managed by a single health provider. This can be a good option if you don’t expect needed a lot of outside care.
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – HMO plans only cover in-network care except in emergency situations. They also usually only provide coverage in your service area. This is a good fit if you only need in-network care and want to pay less each month.
- Point of Service (POS) – A POS plan allows you to see all providers, but you’ll pay less for in-network care. If you need specialized care, you’ll need a referral for coverage. This gives you more flexibility about your coverage options.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – Finally, a PPO is a health plan which allows you to see all doctors and specialists, no referral needed, but you will pay less for in-network coverage. These plans will likely cost more in monthly premiums, but they provide the greatest amount of flexibility in care.
Additional Family Health Insurance Options
While everyone should choose one of the plan options above for their family, that doesn’t mean your coverage stops there. First of all, essential medical insurance does not cover additional things like dental or vision care. These will require supplemental insurance. You can find supplemental coverage for anything from disability to chronic illness insurance. It’s always a smart idea to get additional coverage for areas you’re expecting to need care.
Finally, if you’re unable to pay for a more comprehensive insurance plan, consider at least having a catastrophic health insurance plan. This is a nickname for a type of high-deductible health plan intended for those under 30 who aren’t likely to need regular medical treatment.
Under this type of plan, you’ll pay significantly less for coverage each month, but you’ll pay more out-of-pocket if you do need medical assistance. This plan is essential in case you find yourself facing a major health crisis that could send your finances spiraling without a safety net.
Choosing the best insurance plan for your entire family isn’t always easy. There are a lot of things to consider before deciding on the right plan. With the guidance above, you’ll make a smart decision the entire family can count on.