March 20, 2008

What you need to know before buying a Health Insurance plan

Insurance plans vary, so before you choose a plan, decide which benefits are most important to you and your family. To compare health plans, make sure to ask for and examine a benefits summary or outline of coverage for each plan you're considering. Think about your personal situation. For instance, if you're no longer planning to have children, you won't mind that certain pregnancy-related services aren't covered. But you might be concerned if there's no mental health benefit to help pay for your therapy sessions. Are you concerned with preventive care and checkups? Would you be comfortable in a managed care setting that might restrict your choice somewhat but give you broad coverage and convenience? These are questions that only you can answer.

Here are some of the things to look at when choosing and comparing health insurance plans. Check to see which of these items are "covered" medical services:

· Inpatient hospital services
· Outpatient surgery
· Physician's visits (in the hospital)
· Office visits
· Skilled nursing care
· Medical tests and X-rays
· Prescription drugs
· Mental healthcare
· Dental services
· Drug and alcohol abuse treatment
· Home healthcare visits
· Physical therapy
· Speech therapy
· Hospice care
· Maternity care
· Chiropractic treatment
· Alternative healthcare, such as acupuncture
· Experimental treatments
· Preventive care, such as shots for children and "well visits"
· Well-baby care
· Health screenings, such as breast exams and Pap smears for women

The best way to shop the insurance marketplace is to use an online insurance shopping service. A more popular online quoting service is Within moments Quotebroker shops policies from multiple insurance providers, all competing for your business.

Whether you apply online for coverage or work with an agent, arm yourself with these quotes for comparison purposes. It is also important to determine what type of policy you are looking for - HMO, PPO or POS. A Google search of "insurance terms" will give you a simple product description