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Health Insurance Checklist For Individuals And Families.
By: Patrick Mansfield | U.S. Health Alerts


The world of health insurance isn't the easiest industry to understand, and the Affordable Care Act has made things a little more complex to comprehend. For individuals or families seeking information on which policy to choose, try to start by using our quick checklist.

1. Consider the age of the insured.

Each available plan that an individual or family might choose will offer different types of coverage and will cost a different amount. Choosing the right policy requires choosing the most affordable plan that provides the best benefits. For individuals under the age of 26, the first place to look is on a parent's policy for coverage. For people older than 26, policies are more expensive. 
 
TIP | The Health Insurance Marketplace (Exchange) can't deny or charge a higher monthly premium for pre-existing health conditions. 

But if you have a health condition that requires out-of-pocket expenses you may want to consider a low deductible and low copayment plan. Your monthly premium will be higher, but your out-of-pocket cost will be less. 

If you are healthy and have had minor medical expenses in the past couple of years, then you might want to consider a high deductible, high copayment plan. This will reduce your monthly premium.|

2. Understand standard insurance definitions

The insurance industry has a lot of definitions that a person might never have heard before, and it's a good idea to do some reading on basic insurance concepts before shopping for a policy. Knowing about such common elements as a deductible, copayments, and maximum out-of-pocket expenses offer great benefit during the policy-shopping process.  

3. Gather household financial data

Having accurate income data on hand helps significantly in choosing the right policy regarding price and for determining an applicant's eligibility for certain cost reductions. MOST people seeking health insurance will qualify for subsidies. 

4. Create a budget

Insurance represents a major investment, and it's important to ensure that the policy chosen isn't outside or beyond a person's payment capabilities. Most insurance companies offer plans at some different rates, so finding the right plan is easier if an individual or family has an idea at the start of how much money might be paid monthly on a policy.

5. Check with employer-based insurance

Some workers are employed at a company where employees are offered insurance, and this method of obtaining health coverage is very often much less expensive than getting a policy outside of work. With the adjustments expected due to the Affordable Care Act, workplace insurance rates and frequency might change in the next few years.

6. Investigate insurance for the future

The health insurance an individual might qualify for currently might change in the future, and it's important to stay aware of the potential for change during the policy renewal process. Adults on Medicare, low-income families, and individuals under the age of 26 all have different types of available insurance policies. Learning about these different policies is a good investment of time.
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