Navigating through the health insurance world can be tricky, even for the experts. However, medical coverage is essential if you want to receive the care you need at a reasonable price. In addition, as you get older, your healthcare needs tend to increase, as does the total cost of coverage. Open enrollment is the best time to select an insurance plan, but it can quickly become overwhelming with so many plans and health insurance companies available.
Finding the best individual health insurance can be tricky, so here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Tip #1 – Figure Out When and How to Enroll
Most states allow you to enroll through government websites like healthcare.gov when it comes to individual health insurance. However, some states require you to register through their marketplace. As opposed to private health insurance like that provided through your job while you are still employed, Medicare is available to all those who qualify, but you must enroll online at Medicare.gov and start to pay your Part A premium. It is best to enroll for Medicare during the “open enrollment period,” which starts three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. During this time, you are guaranteed coverage regardless of any pre-existing conditions.
Tip #2 – Review all your Plan Options
Although the federal government standardizes the benefits of all Medicare plans, there are still some options to supplement or replace Medicare. For example, Original Medicare consists of Medicare Part A & B. If you would like to add Plan D, including prescription drug coverage, you need to pay a separate premium. You can also add other coverage through Medicare Supplement Plans or a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Tip #3 – Compare Prices
Since benefits are the same across the board, it is best to shop around for the best price available to you. Private health insurance companies set their rates so a licensed agent like those at The Benefit Link will be able to help you compare plans and find the best coverage at the lowest cost. In addition, make sure to compare several aspects other than premiums, including deductibles and copays.
Tip #4 – Consider your Individual Needs
Depending on your age, current health, and pre-existing conditions, you may need additional coverage to keep your out-of-pocket expenses low. However, if you are generally in good health and do not require regular prescriptions, it may be best to opt in for a different plan than someone with more frequent doctor visits. Medicare may include your spouse, but Medigap is truly individual health insurance since coverage is only for one person, with no exceptions. For this reason, make sure to assess your needs accurately.
Tip #5 – Get Expert Help
When shopping for private health insurance, it is recommended to contact an expert familiar with the different insurance carriers and their coverage. Especially seniors who are often the targets of insurance scams, licensed agents can save from costly mistakes or being taken advantage of by unethical practices. In addition, The Benefit Link continuously monitors the senior market and will be able to suggest different plans and inform you of changes or trends.