Health Insurance

Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Health Insurance Plan

If this is your first time signing up for health insurance, or if you’d simply like to change the one you have, you may be confused by all the available options. Additionally, when it comes to your health, you want to get things right, so it’s important that you consider all those options before making the final decision. So, to help you make the right choice, here are a few tips you should follow. 

Compare the types of health insurance plans

Needless to say, there’s more than one possible health insurance plan, and to choose the one that fits you best, you’d need to compare everything available to you. Some of the most common ones are HMOs, PPOs, EPOs or POS plans. While comparing them, look for the summary of benefits that you get with each plan. You should also look for the provider directory, as that shows which doctors and clinics are a part of the plan’s network. More importantly, though, put your needs first. Although you can’t know for sure what medical treatments you might need, looking at your medical history can help you decide. 

Health Insurance

Choose your marketplace

Most people get their health insurance through their employers. So, if you are employed, your company would be your marketplace. Of course, you can still look for something else, but it’s probably going to cost you a bit more. This is because most employers actually pay a part of your insurance premium. On the other hand, if you’re not employed, you can look for insurance on your own. So, for example, you can compare now at‎ for private health insurance policies and see which one would fit you. You can also buy health insurance directly from an insurance company. 

Compare the networks

As mentioned, different networks come with different doctors, and this is something you should keep in mind if you already have a doctor that you’d like to keep. You can check for yourself, or you can ask your doctor if they are in any particular health plan. Otherwise, you should choose a bigger network that has more medical options. This way, you’d have more choices regarding your doctors. This is even more important if you happen to be from a rural area, because you’d be more likely to find a doctor who is a part of your health plan. You can still go to other doctors, too, but it would cost you more. 

Health Insurance

Compare the out-of-pocket costs

Out-of-pocket costs are what you’d have to pay for services out of your own pocket. This includes the deductible, copayments, and coinsurance. The total amount that you can spend annually is limited, and this amount should also be listed in your plan details. Generally, the lower your premium is, the higher your out-of-pocket costs are. So, for example, if you rarely need to see a doctor and you can’t really afford higher monthly premiums, you should choose a plan that has a higher limit on your out-of-pocket costs. On the other hand, if you do see your doctor often, if your medical needs are frequent, or if you have any chronic condition, a plan that pays a larger part of your medical costs would suit you better. 

Compare the benefits

Finally, you should also compare the benefits. For example, some plans may cover mental health services or physical therapy, and some might have better emergency coverage. This is when you need to take into consideration your own needs, and ask some questions. If you take some specific medication, you can ask how that is covered under the plan. Or, if you travel frequently, you need to know what happens if you get sick abroad. 


Choosing your health plan might seem complicated at first, but it’s very important to make the right choice since there is nothing more important than health. So, follow the listed steps, take the time to read all the details, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and you’re more likely to choose a health plan that you’ll be satisfied with.