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Avoiding Common Health Insurance Mistakes

If you’re shopping for health insurance, it’s essential that you select the right plan for you and your family. Health insurance is a very important part of being able to obtain health care at an affordable cost, and if you don’t select the right plan, you could be struggling to find a doctor that will see you or you could be on the hook to pay for the care you need. To help you make the best choices, be sure to avoid the following mistakes when shopping for health insurance.

Know What You’re Expected to Pay

One of the most common mistakes people make when picking out health insurance is looking for a policy with a low premium. The issue is, many low premium plans come with very high deductibles. With a deductible, health care costs aren’t covered until you’ve spent a certain amount on care out of your own pocket. Plans that are only $100 a month may have deductibles that are thousands of dollars. Unless you don’t use your health insurance, you may not really be saving any money. Along with a deductible, you should also find out if you’re expected to pay for a percentage of the cost of any procedures, diagnostic tests, or treatments. Not all providers pay for 100 percent of care even after you’ve met a deductible.

Another thing to look into is if there are limits on the coverage that an insurance provider offers. Many insurance providers will not pay for an unlimited amount of medical care, so you should determine what your cap is. Some providers will only pay a certain percentage of non-essential health care costs once you go over the cap, but others will completely stop paying for medical bills that aren’t essential.

Find Out If Doctors and Specialists Are In Your Network

When you have health insurance you can technically go to any doctor, but it’s important to understand that coverage of bills often depends on whether or not you are going to a doctor in or out of a network. In-network doctors are the ones that have the highest percent of coverage from a health insurer, and out-of-network doctors may only be covered at a fraction of the level of an in-network physician. The same applies to health care facilities. Hospitals, Residential Drug, Alcohol Treatment Centers and physical therapy centers may all be considered in- or out-of-network. It’s important to be sure any service provider that you may need to see is in your network to keep your out of pocket expenses under control. If you suspect you may be going out of your network for health care, find out exactly what will and won’t be covered and to what degree before selecting a plan.

Consider Both Preventative and Diagnostic Care Costs

Just like in- and out-of-network doctors and medical facilities may be covered at different rates, diagnostic and preventative care coverage is often not the same. Currently, many preventative services must be 100 percent covered with no or very low out-of-pocket costs. Examples of preventative care include annual checkups, cancer screenings and vaccinations. However, if a cancer screening shows that you need more tests or treatment, additional work will often be considered diagnostic treatment and not preventative. Avoid surprises by finding out what the different rates of coverage for each type of visit are, and be sure to ask your physician or medical provider which category a visit will fall under.

The right insurance plan can give you peace of mind and keep your health care costs under control. Be sure that you understand a plan before selecting it to ensure you’re able to receive the best and least costly health care possible.

About the Author: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.

Image Courtesy of “everydayplus” at freedigitalphotos.net