health insurance

Questions to Ask When Shopping for Health Insurance

Health insurance saves you from financial responsibility in your most vulnerable moments. There’s so much to handle when dealing with an illness, with the physical and emotional strain that it exerts on the body. Health insurance makes the burden lighter by ensuring that you do not have to worry about finances, so you can concentrate on getting better. The right insurance cover should guarantee that the payment will be made on time and in full whenever the need arises. As you carry out your research, these questions should guide you:

What is the policy coverage?

Seek to know exactly what the policy covers. The categories included here could be inpatient, outpatient, prescription drugs, post-hospital care, ambulance charges, and so on. Different policies have different sets of situations that they cover.

There’s also a time factor here. How long does it take to be able to utilize your policy after you sign up? For most insurers, it ranges from one month to a couple of months. For pre-existing conditions, the wait could be one year or even more. The goal here is to check the policy that best suits your medical status.

What are the policy exclusions?

The list of what is not covered is just as important as that of what is covered. On this list you’re likely to find services such as alternative therapy, cosmetic treatments, weight-loss products, infertility treatments, off-label prescription drugs, and nutritional supplements, just to mention a few. Again, the list of exclusions differs from one policy to the other. If a certain insurer does not cover the service that you need, check with the next one.

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How much does it cost?

The cost of the insurance cover should match the range of services covered. Don’t be quick to go for a cheap policy; their list of exclusions could be pretty long.

Research widely to see how various policies compare. Ask questions. Seek to know, for instance, how Aetna and United Healthcare measure up. Compare their lists of inclusions and exclusions against the policy price.

Evaluate the payment plans as well. Would you rather pay the premiums monthly, semi-annually, or annually? The more options, the better. Also, find out how much the maximum annual payout is. Ultimately, pick the one that gives you the best value for money.

What is the process of filing a claim?

What documents do you need to file a claim? Is there a set timeline for the same? What happens when one is critically ill or incapacitated and unable to follow up with the insurer?

When you’re sick you’re at your most vulnerable; the last thing you want is a lengthy and tedious claim filing process to drain you any further. What you should be looking for here is a quick and stress-free process that assures a fast payout.

Under what circumstances can the claim be denied?

Is there anything more disappointing than discovering that you’re ineligible for a payout just when you need it? Insurance agents normally dodge this part and they entice you to sign up for the plan. Ask the hard questions here. Normally, insurers will decline your claim for giving false information, failing to report on time, inconsistent payments, and other reasons. Be in the know so you can avoid such an eventuality.

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In conclusion, remember that so much information in insurance contracts is concealed in the fine print. Do not let an over-enthusiastic sales agent rush you into signing the deal when you have not understood the terms and conditions. The guy may be trying to earn a commission, but you have to look out for yourself too. When done right, a health insurance cover safeguards your finances and gives you an assurance that should your health take a downward turn, you’re covered.

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