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Evaluating Your Health Insurance Needs: A How To Guide

Jonathan December 11th, 2010 0 comments

Just like buying a car, evaluating health insurance policies is not a matter of simply picking Plan C over Plan A just because it came in a nicer-looking folder. Health insurance policies tend to provide coverage that sounds similar to one another, but each is actually unique, hence the number of health plans available. Identifying what you need from a health insurance plan first will help cut through the confusion rendered by the myriad choices.

Saving for A Rainy Day… or Do You Live from One Cheque to Another?

The state of your savings tends to have a bearing on the health insurance you wind up buying. The smaller bank balance that low-income earners possess may result in them signing up for a policy with a lower excess charge. This helps reduce the amount the individual has to pay out-of-pocket should he or she require medical treatment. However, lower excess tends to be accompanied by relatively higher premiums.

On the other hand, individuals who have been able to put money away for contingencies stand to gain by subscribing to a policy with a higher excess and accompanying lower premiums. It’s also possible for a low-earning individual to buy a low premium/high excess plan, if they are reasonably confident that they don’t require frequent medical attention.

The Frequency of Visits to the Doctor

If the staff at your doctor’s clinic are able to tell what day it is based on visits from you or your family members, it would be advisable to opt for a health insurance policy where the excess and/or co-payment is low so that paying out-of-pocket doesn’t break the bank.

Conversely, subscribers who are generally in the pink of health can manage with a lower premium (and higher excess) plan as health expenses won’t be such a big deal.

What Did Healthcare Cost Last Year?

Individuals for whom healthcare played a large part of expenses from the previous year need to identify the areas where spending was greatest. Subscribers have to determine if the same expense will feature for the current year or if it can be reduced. It would be advisable to obtain a plan that makes allowances for recurring costs such as those for prescription medication.

Preexisting Medical Conditions (PMC)

The presence of a PMC can make it difficult to claim insurance benefits due to the waiting periods involved. Depending on the condition and its severity, an individual might have to wait anywhere from two months to an entire year before he or she can make a claim.

At best, the waiting period is an irritant. At worst, it constitutes a serious financial handicap. The waiting period is inescapable when it comes to preexisting conditions, so a person should obtain confirmation that the health fund does indeed consider his or her condition a preexisting one before proceeding.

Identifying the Necessary Benefits

Common sense states that you should only sign up for the benefits you require, or might require in the future. This means, for example, keeping an eye out for maternity benefits if a pregnancy in the household is a likely prospect. Conversely, opting out of unnecessary benefits can translate into substantial savings where the overall policy is concerned.

Medicare is always an option for those who want to keep things simple where their healthcare needs are concerned. However, private insurance can offer a larger safety net; for the right price, of course. Comparing quotes for a private health policy can be confusing and overwhelming, but it’s possible to get the best possible deal for yourself as long as you’re not distracted from getting exactly what you need.

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