How to Select the Best Health Insurance for You

With open enrollment season comes cold calls from insurance companies and unsolicited voicemail ads. But it’s also your annual chance to revisit your employer benefits to determine which coverage is best for you and get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while you select your benefits package for next year so you can have optimal coverage for yourself and your dependents.

  1. Take your time.

It’s easy to re-enroll into the same benefits package you had last year. After all, reviewing a ton of options and trying to understand healthcare lingo might seem a bit intimidating. But if you take your time and revisit your current plan, and compare your options, you won’t regret it.

The type of healthcare coverage you select will impact the types of treatments you can afford later, and how much money you’ll have to pay out of pocket each time you visit a doctor or refill a prescription. Your insurance plan will also determine which doctors you can visit under your coverage, and whether you need a referral before visiting a specialist or not. With so much at stake, you don’t want to make a hasty decision. It’s imperative that you take your time and thoroughly weigh your options. Consider your needs and the shortcomings of your current insurance plan, if any, before signing up for next year.

Also, be sure to consider the needs of any dependents that will be enrolled on your plan. If you have a child who will be going out-of-state for school, be sure to enroll into a plan that offers coverage out-of-state.

  1. Don’t rake up a high premium.

The beauty of open enrollment season is that you can make decisions that will change your contribution to your insurance. If you’ve spent a ton of money on insurance products that you didn’t use, now is your chance to tailor your plan more specifically to your needs.

Be sure to learn about the in-network and out-of-network providers and the cost of generic and brand name medications included in your premium. If it’s more than you can afford, or more than you’ll actually need, see if there’s a better plan for you. 

The money you save on insurance could go into your emergency savings fund. With emergency savings, you’ll be able to comfortably afford your deductible the next time you visit a doctor.

  1. Use process of elimination.

Now that you’ve determined how much money you want to spend on healthcare, use process of elimination to rule out any plans that are out of your budget, out of your region, or don’t meet your needs. 

With so many types of insurance, from HMO to PPO to POS plans, using the process of elimination will really help you narrow down your top few options. From there, you can select the best plan for you and your dependents.

Some important questions to ask when considering a plan are will you need to stay in a certain region to be covered? Will you need a referral to visit a specialist? Do you have specific needs that aren’t usually covered in a standard plan?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you should consider your financial situation. Determine how much money you can actually afford to pay for a deductible and eliminate the plans that are beyond your budget. Also, if you or one of your dependents uses a particular medication, find out how much it would cost under each plan. If you plan on starting or expanding a family, find out what type of coverage is offered for maternity. If you plan to travel abroad, consider if you’ll be covered on travel.

Be sure that before you enroll into a new plan, you’ve considered all of your needs, your finances, and your past experiences so you can have the best coverage this time around.


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