Choose Individual Health Insurance Plans

Shopping around for health insurance is not a simple exercise with the wide range of options to choose from, ranging from HMOs to PPOs and other plans. A well chosen health insurance plan can save you a lot of money in the long term. Ergo, it’s essential that you research health insurance products in microscopic details before choosing one.

How to Select the Best Individual Health Insurance Plan

Considering the exorbitant bills medical practitioners and hospitals charge for treatment, it’s essential that one has an individual health insurance plan that can effectively cover for a substantial part of these expenses. There are a range of individual health insurance products varying in the facilities and degree of coverage they offer. Here are some tips on how choosing individual health insurance plans, tailor made to your own requirements.

Assess Your Health Risk
Firstly, you need to assess your own health risk. What are the individual health care expenses that you normally pay for? What are the kind of health risks that you are prone to, in the near future? Analyzing your own health risk can give you an idea about what kind of health insurance will be well suited for you.

Choosing the Right Type of Plan – HMO, PPO or HDHP?
There are many types of individual health insurance plans that you can choose from. Two of the prime types, which fall under the title of ‘Managed Care Plans’ are HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations). HMOs offer health care through a closed network of medical practitioners and hospitals. More flexible than HMOs, PPOs also offer their own network of specialists, with the additional facility of consulting doctors outside the preferred network.

The prime difference lies in the fact that PPOs, unlike HMOs, do not require that you have a primary physician from their network. You can choose any doctor to be your primary physician. PPOs tend to cost more than HMOs, but offer a wider range of consulting medical faculty, compared to HMOs.

A third option is to go for a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and qualify for an HSA (Health Savings Account). HDHPs offer comparatively low monthly premiums, compared to other health insurance plans and enable individuals pay for their own medical expenses through tax deferred savings in health savings accounts. Consider all the details and the pros and cons of HDHPs, PPOs and HMOs, before choosing one.

What is the Monthly Premium?
Though health insurance plans differ in the nature of managed care offered, they all have some common features as insurance products, according to which you can compare them. The most important feature is the health insurance monthly premium charged to the insured. Depending on the amount of coverage offered, the monthly premium will vary. PPOs have a high premium compared to HMOs and HDHPs.