Matchmaking: How Smart Health Insurance Buyers Find Smart Plans

If you think that you got a good bargain just by enrolling in a health plan that offered the lowest premiums you could find, then you might be missing a lot. Discount cards are being marketed by some companies as though they are a type of major medical health plan. Be wary of these marketing strategies. Always read the fine print before you decide to apply, and contact doctors and hospitals in your area to check if they really do honor the discounts.

Find out about the company that’s offering the health plan by checking for good customer reviews. Previous and current customers are the ones who can best tell you if the company provides quality service. Do they deny claims even if they are valid? How long does it take for the company to pay on claims? Can you get a hold of customer service whenever you need help? These are some of the most important things that you should check out before you purchase a health plan from an insurance company.

And, check with the Better Business Bureau, or look up the insurance company’s A.M. Best rating. That’s an independent rating organization, but Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s do the same thing. We check for that rating on all of the insurance companies we represent, and I recommend going with a company that has an rating of A or B, which are the highest ratings.

Some plans being marketed claim “no medical underwriting is required,” or “anybody can qualify.” Major medical health plans have some form of medical underwriting, period. It’s also worth noting that although the health care reform law says that health insurance companies are not allowed to turn down a person who wants a health plan just because of pre-existing conditions, that provision will only take effect in 2014 for adults. It’s only in
place now for children.

If you want to enroll in a plan that offers extensive medical coverage, these are a few things you need to check:

  1. Is your own doctor one of the plan’s in-network providers?
  2. Does your plan put a cap on the amount of your annual coverage?
  3. Can you afford to pay for health care while meeting a plan’s deductible?
  4. Does your plan allow you to open a Health Savings Account (HSA)? If your plan allows this, you will have the opportunity to save with triple tax benefits.

You can contribute pre-tax dollars through payroll deductions, earn tax-deferred interest on the contributions, and withdraw funds to pay for qualified health care without having to pay taxes on the withdrawals. It takes taxation off health care expenses for you and your family members, whether they are covered under your health insurance policy or not.

If you’re buying your own health plan with post-tax money, you can get the same tax benefits. Just claim a tax deduction for your HSA contribution on federal and, usually, state tax returns. You don’t even need to itemize to do that. November is the very last month you can get an HSA-qualified health plan to claim these deductions for 2012. Even if you don’t make an HSA contribution until you file next April, you’re still entitled to reduce your
taxable income for 2012 if you make the Dec. 1 deadline to get the right policy.

  Date posted: Monday, November 26th, 2012
Category: Uncategorized

ColoHealth Blog is proudly powered by WordPress | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).
WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :