How to choose health insurance: a step-by-step guide



How to choose health insurance: a step-by-step guide

You usually have a limited amount of time to choose the best health insurance plan for your family, but rushing and choosing the wrong coverage can be costly. Find here a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right health insurance for your trip

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Getting a health insurance policy is a priority for many people in the world. About 60% of Americans have some form of health insurance policy, in Great Britain this figure reaches 50%. Health insurance became especially popular after the Covid-19 epidemic. People have realized that insurance is no longer a privilege, it is now a necessity for many families in the world.

However, choosing the right health insurance policy can be a daunting task, especially if you don't know what factors to look out for when purchasing it.

To make the process easier, today we're going to walk you through the 7 steps you need to take before purchasing health insurance.

● Step 1 – choose a health insurance market

Most people get health insurance through their employer. If your employer offers a policy, you may not need to look for an alternative in the private insurance agency market. However, while employer-sponsored insurance has a lower cost, it may have limited coverage. Therefore, we advise you to find out which services are covered by the employer's policy and, if necessary, to continue your search among private companies.

● Step 2 – Analyze your requirements

If you are considering purchasing health insurance for yourself or any other family member, first try to figure out what your basic requirements are. To do this, analyze whether you have chronic diseases and what additional medical services you may need, for example, pregnancy management, childbirth, etc.

Look into specialist policies if necessary, for example if you are taking out insurance for your parents who are elderly then it will make much more sense to buy a seniors policy for them rather than standard insurance.

● Step 3 – Determine the amount of coverage you need

Experts advise that the amount of health insurance exceeds at least 6 times the average salary in the country of residence. For example, if the average salary in the country is $1,500, then the sum of expenses under the policy should be $9,000. If you take out one policy for the whole family, then this amount must be multiplied by the number of family members, that is, the amount of coverage for a family of 4 should be $36,000.

● Step 4 – Pay attention to the important components of the policy

Once you have decided on your requirements and coverage amount, you should pay attention to several factors that must be present in your policy:

- Inpatient hospitalization – when a person stays in the hospital for more than 24 hours, it is called hospitalization. Look for a plan that will give you maximum inpatient coverage.

- Treatment in a day hospital - many procedures and operations, for example, such as chemotherapy, cataract treatment, dialysis, do not require hospitalization of the patient. This treatment can be received within a few hours in the hospital and is called day treatment. Therefore, look for a policy that compensates for day treatment as well.

- Pay attention to the period of receiving compensation and the exact amount of coverage for each type of medical care.

● Step 5 – compare the amount of additional costs

In addition to your monthly premium, an insurance policy may include additional costs. Here are some key terms you may encounter in your insurance contract:

- A co-pay is a fixed fee (for example, $20) that you pay each time you receive a medical service or procedure.

- Co-insurance is a percentage (eg 20%) of the medical bill that you pay, the rest is covered by your health insurance plan.

- Deductible is the amount you pay for medical care before your insurance policy starts paying out.

- Out-of-pocket maximum is the maximum amount you will pay out-of-pocket for medical care during the year. When you reach that maximum, your insurance will pay the rest.

- Personal co-payments are funds that exceed the amount of your insurance policy, you must pay them out of your own pocket.

- Premium is the monthly amount you pay for your health insurance policy.

In general, the higher your monthly premium, the lower your out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays and co-insurance (and vice versa). A plan that pays most of your medical expenses but has higher monthly premiums may be better if: you see a therapist or specialist often, you often need emergency care, you regularly take expensive or brand-name drugs, you are expecting a baby, you are planning to give birth you have a child or have young children, you have planned surgery, you have been diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes or cancer.

A plan with higher out-of-pocket costs and lower monthly premiums may be a better choice if: You can't afford the higher monthly premiums of a plan with lower out-of-pocket costs, you're in good health, and you rarely go to the doctor.

● Step 6 – compare the network of hospitals in different insurance companies

Usually, if you buy an insurance policy, in case of illness you will need to see doctors at certain health care facilities. If you have a hospital that you know would be the best fit for you, make sure that it is part of your insurer's network of hospitals. If you are used to cooperating with a certain doctor, then also check whether he has a contract with your insurance company.

● Step 7 – find out the scope of services

At this stage, you will have several policies to choose from. Therefore, check in detail the scope of services provided by each insurance company. Some may have more extensive cover for additional treatments such as physiotherapy, fertility treatment or mental health, while others may have better cover for emergencies.

Quite often when buying a health insurance policy, people pay attention to the low cost of insurance and make a mistake, because the amount of the insurance premium is an important factor to consider when buying health insurance, but at the same time, it does not guarantee that your policy will meet all your requirements . It is also very important to issue a policy with a reliable insurance agent.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Medical insurance all over the world;

Legal advice from a local specialist on visa and migration issues (to receive the service, select the country of interest and citizenship).

European Health Insurance Card. Read here how to get preferential medical care in the EU countries.

Health insurance abroad: find answers to the most common questions here.

5 important travel insurance services you may need.

Health insurance for traveling abroad: a detailed guide.

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