Choosing the best health plan is not an easy task. The market for health insurance is complex and competitive as ever; and with new legislation being set in place by the Trump administration, it’s quite easy to get confused as to where you fit in, what’s changing, and most importantly, how you can get the best deal. The golden rule of how to choose the best health care plan is to take time to do it. It’s not something you can pick as easy as what to have for dinner, what colour socks you’re going to wear, or even what phone plan you are going to choose! After all, it’s your health and wellbeing you are managing here.

If you are someone with a pre-existing condition, or if (god forbid) something were to happen to you that required emergency treatment or an operation, you would want to know that you are going to be covered by a plan that suits you. Though you could trust the advertisements of private insurers and other forms of cover, it would be silly to do so. The American healthcare system is a largely privatized sector, and companies will do anything to sell you the most expensive plan. The best thing a person can do is to set a few days aside and do the necessary research, to find the plan that’s right for them.

To get you started on finding out what you need to consider when trying to choose the best health plan, we’ve compiled a list of tips!

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Assess Your Needs

Every single person is going to need something a bit different. We all have a unique mixture of lifestyles, so it’s our duty to really put some thought into what you need. Though the mainstream plans you see advertised may cover a number of eventualities, think carefully. Do you have a condition that needs specialists on hand to assist you? Do you feel that you could need them at any point in the future? If so, you need to check that the health plan you choose covers this. Or if it doesn’t, you will have to pay for it yourself.

Similarly, if you like or need regular check-ups and health screenings, you have to choose a plan that is considerate of that in its price package. You may end up mistakenly choosing a plan where regularity is not the main concern. Regular check-ups are a perfectly agreeable factor; you just need to do the job of finding out what plan provides that.

A good (albeit morbid) way of thinking about this, is contemplating your worst-case scenario. If the worst likely thing was to happen, would you be covered? Would you be okay?


Be Aware Of Changes

There are a number of changes to consider when choosing the right plan for you that you should make yourself aware of. Firstly, a lot of insurers have joined the market in a number of states. This means that prices for premiums will be more competitive. Be aware that health organizations want to make money, so it’s your duty to yourself to be diligent when agreeing to a plan with them. You should also bear in mind that costs and legislation differ drastically state to state. So, gain an awareness of what is happening in your particular state, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision.

Another important change is cost-sharing reductions. Plastered all over the news in 2017, the Trump Administration made it their objective to cut off funding for them, announcing the end of funding near the climax of that year. However, insurers have found a series of loopholes that allow them to still offer CSR. Though they have yet to disappear completely, their elimination will most likely affect the cost of the silver plan premiums this year. Though some insurers have worked things out differently to others, make sure you are aware of whether or not your plan has added the cost of CSR on top.


Your Doctor

A lot of people have a very close tie with their doctor. The doctor may have been used by your family for generations, or they may have helped you out of an emergency situation. Whatever the case may be, your doctor may be one of the only people you trust when disclosing your issues and pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, a lot of insurers and health plans only allow you to see doctors of their choice. And like it or not, your doctor might not be covered by them. Meaning you’d have to switch doctors, which may not be something you want to do.

Again, this is another eventuality that can be avoided if you take the time and care. Comb through the details of your agreement and make sure that you will be able to visit your doctor as part of your plan.


Look At The Small Print 

This tip has been inferred in the previous points, but it is worth reiterating. Though the intricacies of healthcare plans may be hugely complex, all it takes to learn what you are agreeing to is time. Find somewhere on your chosen insurers website that spells out the minute details of your chosen plan, and go over it with a fine tooth comb.

You will find things that you were unaware of, and you’ll be able to compare it to other suppliers. It’s no good staying with the same provider year in and year out, as the legislation changes so much that the details of health plans inevitably change. But keeping a diligent eye on the changes will allow you to get the best possible deal for yourself.

The good news is once you’ve completed it, you no longer need to worry! You’ll be covered for the whole year. And if you’ve chosen carefully, you should have no shocks in your plan, even if the worst was to happen. But remember, at that point the next year down the line you’ll have to review it all again.

Disclaimer: Our service is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as financial advice. We help our readers make informed decisions via impartial information and guides. Where appropriate, we may introduce partner companies who can provide services relating to financial products.