Let’s face it: health insurance is costly. With so many healthcare options—be it PPO, HMO, EPO, etc.—it can be hard to find the one right for you, as well as ensuring it meets all of your healthcare needs. This is why we’ve come up with 5 health insurance shopping secrets—so that the process is easier. Read on to find out what they are!

1. Consider a High-Deductible Health Insurance Plan

As The Balance reports, this is a great emergency health insurance option, especially if you are in good health and don’t normally need to use medical facilities often. It is low cost; however, you may have to pay in full (or close to it) if you don’t have funds in your health savings account.

A Word About Having a Health Savings Account

Know that there are several benefits that do come with having a health savings account. While there is a limit of how much you can contribute to it per year, the money you do invest in it is carried over the following year, which means the funds do continue to add up.

Once you are 65 and enrolled in Medicare, you cannot contribute to your health savings account anymore. Nonetheless, you can still pull funds from it.

2. Having a Health Insurance Discount Card While Insurance Shopping

Perhaps you haven’t decided on an insurance plan? No matter what your insurance situation is, as The Balance goes on to state, a health insurance discount card can be beneficial when you are still insurance shopping.

In a nutshell, this works as a negotiated, low-cost option to use for health services. Please know that it is not a health insurance plan in itself and cannot replace one. Also, know that you do have to pay monthly costs in order to receive health discounts.

While a health insurance discount card can lower health costs, you do have to pay for doctor appointments, operations, medications—any medical costs—in full.

3. Sign Up for Medicare…Strategically

According to CNN Money, be strategic when you enroll in Medicare and make sure your insurance company follows the HIPAA compliance they need to. If you have an operation coming up that your employer-covered health insurance covers more of, it may be best to schedule the operation during that coverage period instead of immediately switching over to Medicare.

Also, Medicare does not typically cover family plans, but a single plan can provide coverage for you and your spouse (given that both of you are 65 or older). However, as CNN Money states, if you and your spouse have different health needs, it may be better to have separate plans.

4. Know Which Providers are In-Network and Which Are Not

Do you have a primary care physician you’ve been going to for years? Or do you have a specialist that you need to see?

It is best to check with the prospective insurance provider to see if they would be in-network. In general, in-network providers cost (a lot) less than out-of-pocket providers.

The reason being is that in-network providers are contracted with the insurance provider. Know that, while some providers may accept your insurance, they are not necessarily in network. For this reason, again, it is important to know which providers are in-network and which aren’t.

5. Prioritize Your Needs

Whatever you do, do not settle for an insurance plan that does not meet your healthcare needs. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize your health, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember, this is about your health.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right health insurance plan can take time; knowing your budget and healthcare needs will speed up this process. What healthcare shopping tips do you recommend? Leave a comment.

Related read: 4 Things To Watch Out For When Filing A Health Insurance Claim

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