A lot of people have been surprised by a health care bill or two. Or even by how their health insurance plan works. I’d like to offer a few suggestions about how you can avoid these kinds of surprises. This is the first post in a series about things you can do to avoid the unexpected from your health plan.
Be choosy about your coverage
The easiest way to avoid surprises from your health plan is to make informed buying decisions. The right health insurance coverage shields you from serious financial issues resulting from medical expenses. Many Americans are just one serious illness or accident away from bankruptcy. To stay protected against financial ruin, you should have a plan that covers different kinds of medical care, from doctor visits and outpatient treatment to emergency services, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and more. You might not need everything now, but illness and injury can strike without warning. But how do you know what to look for when shopping for coverage?
Ask questions when selecting your health plan
When you are choosing a health plan, find out exactly what it offers. Don’t be shy! Getting the details up front will keep you from being surprised later on. Ask questions like:
- Are there copays?
- How does the coinsurance work?
- Is your favorite doctor in the network?
- Is there drug coverage?
- What’s the out-of-pocket maximum?
- Is alternative medicine covered?
- What preventive services are covered?
Asking these types of questions can help you gauge the value of the plan. If you’re unfamiliar with health insurance jargon, take a look at our informative article on common health insurance terms and definitions.