Pick a Plan: Strategic Approach

Pick a Plan: Strategy
How do I pick the Perfect Health Insurance Plan?
Finding the right insurance plan involves weighing a set of tradeoffs. These steps will help you understand these tradeoffs. You can do the math on your own by researching this information — every plan is required to list its network, costs and benefits online in a clear format. Or, TREK is always here to do the heavy lifting and pick the plan that’s best for you!
Let’s break down the decision-making process into a few easy steps.

1) Evaluate your current health: Evaluate your current health: In other words, how healthy are you? An easy place to start is to determine how often you see the doctor, take prescription medications or visit a medical facility each year.
2) Consider your network: Each insurance plan comes with a network of nurses, doctors and hospitals that will provide you with care at a set price. “Out-of-network” care may be very expensive depending on your plan type. Certain plans also limit the freedom you have to see medical “specialists” within your network. For example, an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) requires that you see your primary care physician (PCP) for a referral before accessing specialized care.
3) Keep your doctors: While making a decision regarding your network, consider this important question: What plans include your favorite doctors, specialists, or hospitals? You can use TREK to figure this out in an instant, or, you may create a list of your favorite doctors and check with each to see what insurance plans they work with.
4) Think Beyond the Premium: Although monthly premium might be the closest thing a health plan has to price, it is NOT the best way to assess the true cost of a health plan. You also need to factor in your expected out-of-pocket costs, which could be considerable if you get sick frequently or have a major medical event. This analysis is almost impossible to do on your own, but lucky for you, TREK makes this easy to tailor each plan to your personal need(s) and/or want(s).
5) Take a moment to consider affordability: In the health insurance world, each insurance plan will change in price depending on your health status over the year. Even so, you want a plan you can afford. Look at the monthly premium and annual deductible — Are you comfortable making these payments over the next year?
6) HDHP: High Deductible Health Plan: You can only have this type of plan if you choose a PPO with a high deductible. Once you pay your deductible, your plan will cover 100% of your care, in most cases. You should plan to set aside some money in a savings account, ideally a special type of savings account called a Health Savings Account (HSA), to pay your deductible. All of your HSA spending is tax-deductible (meaning you won’t pay taxes on the money you put in an HSA, also known as “pre-tax contributions”) so it can be a powerful financial tool. I have been on one for 8 years and would never consider anything else. Save, Save, Save!
7) Tying it all together: The cost-sharing balancing act – Always keep this in mind: buying insurance is about balancing premium cost versus coverage. Expensive health plans usually provide more comprehensive benefits – you pay a smaller share of medical bills and have more flexibility in terms of which doctors you can visit and what services are covered.

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