If you’re looking for the right health insurance for yourself it can be easy to start feeling overwhelmed with all the options out there. Between countless health insurance providers, how do you decide which one to choose? How do you make sure there isn’t anything you’re missing, or even where to look for it?
The only solution is to do your own homework and do everything you can to find out what you can about different types of health insurance. First, you can try to understand the different kinds of options available to you and compare different health insurance providers online on websites like HealthMarkets. Here is a list of the main kinds of health insurance you can get:
- Preferred provider organization (PPO) plan
- Health maintenance organization (HMO) plan
- Health savings account (HSA)-qualified plan
- Indemnity plans
Each plan has pros and cons of its own, and with a little investigation you can figure out what’s best for you. For now, let’s talk about what all these plans have to offer.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan
Many people who travel or want to have the final say in the doctors they visit and the care they receive benefit greatly from PPO plans. This is because while PPO healthcare plans do have a list of in-network physicians, they don’t limit you from seeing physicians outside of their network. This means that you may be able to see physicians outside your primary location of residence or someone specific you’d rather see instead of the in-network specialists.
How Much Does a PPO Plan Cost?
Of course, PPO healthcare plans have a higher monthly premium than other types of health insurance plans, but it’s worth the flexibility for a lot of people.
Who Benefits Most?
People with a complex medical history or who couldn’t find doctors who provided them with the right care before the one they’re seeing right now might feel like the higher monthly premium and additional costs are worth it. The plan is also beneficial to anyone who travels a lot.
In addition, you don’t need the referral of your primary care physician to go to a specialist, which means that people with this kind of plan can go straight to a psychiatrist or a physiotherapist.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan
With an HMO plan, you need to have a primary care provider and need their referral to see any specialists. You’ll be restricted to a local network of doctors for your options, and none or little of your expenses would be covered if you see anyone outside of the network, or see a specialist within the network without your doctor’s referral.
How Much Does an HMO Plan Cost?
HMO plans don’t cost as much as PPO plans and may be the better option for anyone who doesn’t think they’ll need to see anyone outside of their network. The monthly premiums are lower but you might end up paying more for any treatment you get outside of your residential area and with a healthcare provider who wasn’t part of your network.
At the same time, you need to be careful about the fine print. A lower monthly premium may mean you’ll be stuck with low coverage, high co-pays, or high deductibles.
Who Benefits Most?
People who don’t mind the extra restrictions and feel like they’ll hardly need anything beyond basic preventative care with their doctor might benefit most from this plan, but it could leave you open to crippling expenses in case of any unforeseen emergencies.
Health Savings Account (HSA) Qualified Plan
The HSA is a combination of health insurance and a savings account where you can save pre-tax money to spend on your medical expenses. With the help of this plan, you can have extra money saved away for a medical emergency and to pay for any deductible or co-pays your health insurance would dictate.
How Much Does It Cost?
Health savings account plans might give you more financial security in case of emergencies (because the saved amount carries over every year), but they may also have you paying higher co-pays on regular checkups or any visits to a specialist.
Who Benefits Most?
These plans are best for someone who wants to save money for any medical emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. On the other hand, if you use the money in your health savings account for anything other than medical expenses you’ll have to pay a penalty, which means that money might keep being carried over year after year without ever being put to use if you and your family members are healthy and don’t need any costly procedures done.
With the help of an Indemnity plan, you can visit whatever doctor you want at a hospital or clinic of your choosing, and then the insurance provider will cover part of your expenses at that clinic. Typically, plan holders pay for services out-of-pocket and then apply to be reimbursed for the expenses the plan is supposed to cover.
How Much Do Indemnity Plans Cost?
The costs of indemnity plans vary widely, but this plan is thought to be the most expensive out of all plans available. The costs can vary depending on how old you are, what you do, where you live, and many other factors. The plan itself doesn’t even count as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Who Benefits Most?
If you don’t want to stick to a single doctor for your medical needs or want to see specialists without any referral, this plan might be a good fit for you. There is no approved network or relist of requirements when it comes to choosing healthcare providers in this plan, so this is by far the most flexible.
As you just saw, there is a healthcare plan for everyone, and when you look into these types of plans more you’ll realize how different kinds vary. Once you’ve decided on what plan to settle for, it will be time to review all the pros and cons and to ask yourself if you prefer to have a lower monthly premium and a higher deductible or co-pay, or if you’d rather pay a little extra for top-notch service and flexibility.