US Healthcare System Explained - Here’s How It WorksRead More
Never in history has there been so much confusion surrounding healthcare, more specifically, the health insurance industry. Open Enrollment 2019 is almost upon us, and it seems nobody really knows what’s going on, so we’re here to make things simple. If you’re wondering how to get health insurance in 2019, here’s your guide to finding the perfect plans and coverage options.
Deciding What Type Of Coverage You Need
Before jumping into the logistics of getting health insurance, it’s important to establish your needs, and if applicable, the needs of your family. The world of health insurance is complex, and there is no one size fits all plan. So, prior to starting your search, grab your pen or pencil, and think about the following.
What’s Your Budget?
When you think of health insurance, the first thing that comes to mind is probably all the horror stories of individuals and families paying hundreds to thousands of dollars a month for coverage, but that’s not the whole story. Yes, health insurance may be expensive, and there are certainly expensive plans on the market, but that doesn’t mean that you need to fork over all your hard earned money.
When you sit down, really sit down on go through your finances. How much are you making? How much are you spending? Once you have a good idea of what you can afford, you already have a huge advantage for the following reasons. First, knowing your financial situation will tell you whether or not you are eligible for government savings programs. Secondly, knowing your budget will help you narrow your search, making finding a plan quick and easy.
What Do You Need Your Plan To Cover?
Health insurance plans come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak. Some plans are more comprehensive than others, so knowing the needs of you and your family will help you trim the fat, which can end up saving you money.
For example, do you take medication regularly? You may want to opt for a plan that covers prescriptions drugs. Are you trying for a kid? You definitely want to choose the coverage that covers all your maternity needs.
The truth of the matter is most health insurance plans cover the basics needs of a healthy individual. So, it’s up to you to determine what additional benefits you want to add on. Determining what you need your health insurance policy to cover will help you save money, and also narrow down your search.
Research Nearby Medical Providers
This is one of the most overlooked details for any health insurance plan. People often choose a policy based on price alone, which may be fine for some, but what about your provider network?
If you already have a primary care physician, or a nearby medical facility, you need to take that into account. Most health insurance companies have provider network search tools you can use to see whether or not a medical provider is in your network. You can also talk to local doctors or physicians to find out what coverage they accept. Whichever route you take, make sure you’re covered locally.
When You Can Get Coverage
Here’s a fun tip, you can actually apply for health insurance and get coverage at any point throughout the year. Yes, the health insurance marketplace is only Open for 45 days, so you may be limited in terms of when you can get coverage through your state or federal exchange, but even that has loopholes.
If you want private health insurance, you can purchase it at any time. If you are looking for short-term health insurance plans, you can also enroll whenever you want. The only restrictions are for Obamacare plans or plans through the marketplace.
If you are looking to take advantage of premium tax credits or get subsidized coverage, then timing is crucial. While the health insurance marketplaces were open for 90 days under President Obama, President Trump slashed that in half. Now, open enrollment is only open for 45 days, November 1 through December 15. Plan accordingly.
Getting Health Insurance In 2019
Take a deep breath, because the hard part is already behind you. No, really! It is.
Now that you know your budget, your needs, and when you should apply for coverage, all that’s left to do is choose a plan. Forget whatever confusion or stress you may be feeling, because we’re about to show you how easy it is to get health insurance in 2019.
Free Quoting Tools - Find Plans In Your Area
The internet is a strange place, but it’s also a great resource when it comes to starting your search for the perfect health plan. There are tons of free health insurance quote tools that show you exactly what’s available in your area, and FirstQuote Health is one of those awesome tools.
There are hundreds of health insurance companies in the US, close to one thousand in fact, but each company only offers plans in select areas. So, by entering your zip code with FirstQuote Health, you can easily see which plans are available in your neighborhood, along with pricing.
Read The Reviews - What Are People Saying?
After finding the health insurance plans available in your area, find out what people are saying about the company. The last thing you want to do is choose to go with a company with a notorious history of not paying claims.
In a world where everyone’s a critic, health insurance companies get reviewed by members just like restaurants or retail sellers. A simple search for the health insurance company you’re thinking about going with will bring up tons of customer reviews, which will help you make an informed decision. However, make sure to take all reviews with a grain of salt.
People tend to write their reviews when they have a bad experience, not when they have a good one. Chances are, you will almost always see complaints. You want to take into account how many members a company insures, and then compare that to the number of negative reviews. If a company has a high percentage of grievances filed against it, you may want to take a different route. However, even if all the reviews are negative, if it is a relatively low percentage, you may have found a good plan.
Explore All Your Options
Remember there is more than one way to get health insurance. You can buy health insurance through the marketplace, private sector, or even qualify for free health insurance through Medicaid. Exhaust your options before settling on a plan. You may be surprised with how much you can save.
Talk To A Licensed Agent Or Broker
Contrary to what you have seen in movies, or have heard from your friends, health insurance agents and brokers are actually your greatest resource. Understand that these people are licensed professionals, and know the ins and outs of the health insurance industry better than most.
Yes, health insurance agents get paid for enrolling you in a policy, but their commissions are already built into the cost of your plan. Something that you may not know is that agents and brokers alike want you to find a plan that fits your needs. Why? Well, if you’re happy with your policy, then chances are you will stick with it. Agents and brokers can actually lose money if you cancel your policy early, so it’s in their best interest to find something that works for you. Learn more about the benefits of using a health insurance as an agent and broker here.
Submit Your Application
You’re almost there! You found the perfect plan with the help of your trusted agent, now all you have to do is dot the I’s and cross the T’s. You’re going to want help on this because any errors on your application can result in getting denied. The key is having an agent do the work, and even explaining the details of the policy.
How Long Does It Take To Get Approved?
On average, you can expect the approval process to take a couple weeks. There are companies that will approve you same day though, which is perfect if you need coverage fast.
Even though health insurance companies may take a while to approve your application, talk to your agent. There is the possibility that your coverage will retroactively begin when you submit your application. Essentially, your health insurance company may say your policy is effective the day you submitted your application for approval.