Getting surprised by an unexpected health bill from your insurance is everyone’s worst nightmare. Thoughtful planning and thinking ahead will help you be prepared. When choosing a healthcare plan for you and your family, there are certain things you should look for.
When I started paying for my health insurance, there was so much terminology that I wasn’t familiar with. I decided from my experience that there are three things to familiarize yourself with when choosing a health plan.
The three important things to know regarding healthcare costs are premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
A premium is the amount you pay to have your health insurance every month. This gives you permission to have healthcare and it’s important to look for how much it costs every month. For some people, it comes out of their paycheck every two weeks, or monthly. Sometimes you can have a lower premium but higher co-pays and deductibles, so you want to make sure you look at all three parts, and not just for a lower premium.
The co-pay cost is a separate charge that you have to pay when you visit the doctor. Usually a co-pay with your family doctor is the cheapest and visiting a specialist costs more. Blood tests, emergency visits and medicine also have co-pay costs. It’s important to find out what those are and then spread out your doctor visits, so you don’t pay for each visit all in one month. Of course, if there is an emergency or an infection you are fighting, then you have to decide to bite the bullet, and go anyways.
A deductible is a separate charge from the monthly premium and co-pays. If you have a $0 deductible, consider yourself incredibly blessed. But if you don’t, it’s important to find out what that amount is. Let’s say you have a $500 deductible for the year. You have to pay this amount out-of-pocket first before your insurance kicks in and covers any costs beyond that. This unfortunately means, that after you pay for your premium and co-pay costs, you also have to pay your deductible amount. Therefore, the goal is to look for lower deductibles.
Hopefully some of that made sense to you. The key is to look at all three costs, to choose which health plan combination is the best for you!