What Millennial’s Need to Know About Health Insurance

As a millennial, I know the struggle of finding health insurance plans. Many employers today don’t offer, or are unable to offer health care plans, leaving it up to us to navigate the marketplace ourselves. But, how can we know the best option? Finding the right plan can be a confusing process, trust me, I know. However, here are a few tips to help make finding the right health insurance just a little bit easier.

3 Things to Know Before Choosing Healthcare Coverage

To begin, here are the bare basics to keep in mind when you go to look at the different health plan options available to you.

  • Health insurance plans often come in different categories. These are usually bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. These differ, not in the quality of care, but in the costs that are shared between you and the provider. For instance, having a platinum plan means your insurance will pay a higher percentage of cost, as opposed to bronze plans. However, bronze plans often come with a lower monthly premium, or the amount you pay each month for the coverage.
  • Premiums are costs paid each month, even if you don’t use the coverage at that time. It’s basically the same premise as a car insurance payment. A deductible is what you pay when you do receive care services. To use the example above platinum plans have a higher monthly premium, but lower deductibles, and bronze is vice versa. If you have a $2,000 deductible, that means you are responsible for the first $2,000 due for healthcare services. This is all something to keep in mind when finding a plan that can balance out, and not break the bank now, or in the future.
  • If you have looked at plans before you may have noticed the different types like PPO and HMO, the differences matter.
    1. HMO plans come with a limit which doctors you can receive services from. This is what your ‘network’ is. With this plan you will have a set service area where it can be used, and generally won’t cover services outside of the network, unless it is an emergency case.
    2. PPO plans have contracted doctors and hospitals within their networks, and the amount you pay will be less if you use them; however, with this plan you can use outside services, with the stipulation of additional costs.
    3. POS plans, like PPO’s, cost less if you use in network healthcare providers, but require referrals in order for you to be seen by specialists.
    4. EPO plan means the it will, usually, only cover services that are in network, unless the case is emergency based; however specialists, doctors, and hospitals are covered, provided they are in network.

When looking for a health insurance plan, take into consideration your needs, how much you want to pay now, or at the time of service, and what network options you prefer. The process of finding the right plan and health insurance company doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If we can navigate student loans, and the complicated financial aid system, then we can definitely handle navigating the health insurance marketplace.

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