Private Health Insurance Comparison Dos and Don'ts
- By Alston Ballkcom
- Published 08/5/2011
Not every health insurance company will be in good standing with your state's department of insurance. Be sure to buy only from carriers that meet the standards or your state's department of insurance.
Your state's insurance department is probably the best place to look to see if a health insurance carrier has an excessive number of consumer complaints against them. You should be able to get this information from them on their website, via calling or by email to ask about any medical insurance company that sells in your state.
The number of complaints should be compared to the number of policy holders a medical insurance carrier has. The volume of complaints isn't the important factor. Larger companies are likely to have more complaints against them than smaller companies. The ratio of complaints to policy holders is the important thing to look at.
The financial stability of an insurance carrier is also important. You can visit AM Best's website to get their opinion of the company's financial stability. Buying a medical insurance contract from a company with a poor rating is like taking an IOU from a man who was just fired.
Once you have limited the field of companies to choose from to those who are in good standing with your state's department of insurance, have a reasonable ratio of claims when compared to the size of their policy holder base and that are financially stable, it is very important to know whether or not the policy itself is a good one for you and your family. You will need to know whether you will be able to get care from physicians and hospitals that are convenient to you. You will need to know whether or not they will cover you should you have a major medical expense.
Most private health insurance policies today will have a network of physicians that they encourage you to use when you need care. If you go to a doctor who it outside of their network, you will wind up paying more for your medical expenses or may wind up paying the full amount for your medical expenses. The penalty for using a non-network provider is usually pretty steep.
Since using network providers results in your getting more of your medical bills covered, the network is critical. You will want to see if your physician is in their network. If your doctor isn't in the network, as a minimum you will want to make sure that there are doctors in the network who are convenient to you. You will want to make sure that a hospital near your home is in the network as well.
When looking at the benefits of medical insurance contracts, be sure to investigate how each contract covers the big expenses. A contract with a low copay for physician visits but an unreasonable limit on what it pays in the hospital is a bad policy.
Be sure to purchase a contract with a lifetime limit of no less than 3 million dollars and no separate lifetime limit. Also be sure that your coverage in the physician's office is not limited. Beware of contracts that have limited benefits in the doctors' office. You can go bankrupt trying to pay physician bills even if you never go to a hospital.
Knowing what to look for when comparing private health insurance policies is crucial if you want to make the best choice for yourself and your family. A good contract will be backed by a good carrier that pays its claims and is expected to be able to pay its future claims. A good policy will have a good network of physicians and hospitals that is close by and will not have unreasonable limits on the care it pays for.
You can compare private health insurance policies after getting prices and information on the author Alston Balkcom's website or by calling 866-944-0951. You can also find life insurance quotes.
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