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Shopping for Health Insurance

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/24/2007 | Health

Nobody likes shopping for insurance. Medical insurance is especially troublesome to compare and shop. Thousands of medical insurance companies are clamoring for your business. Each of those thousands has hundreds of plans. It's even more complex because each plan has different expenses, deductibles, and other large and small details. Here are some major points to consider when shopping for a medical insurance quote.

The Premiums You Pay Each Month

There is a major cost associated with a medical insurance quote. It is the monthly cost, also called a premium. As an insurance customer, you pay this premium every month, even if you do not use the insurance. Your medical insurance quote should clearly show the premium cost.

Costs Associated With Each Claim

When you seek actual medical treatment, there are additional costs you might incur. You might be required to pay a fixed amount per doctor or hospital visit. This amount might also be a percentage of the total bill. These incidental costs vary based on the medical problem, your policy, whether the hospital or doctor are in your network, and many more. Be sure your medical insurance quote lists these costs clearly.

The Cost Of Your Deductible

With many medical insurance plans, benefits do not begin until you pay a certain amount first. This is called the deductible, because the insurance company deducts it from the amount for which they are willing to pay benefits. Plans with high deductibles often have lower premiums, and vice-versa. Ensure that the deductible is plainly shown on your medical insurance quote.

Extra Costs Out Of Your Pocket

The insurance may not cover the entire claim amount, even if the deductible has been paid. Patients are often responsible for paying a small percentage of the post-deductible expenses. This percentage can be 20 percent to 30 percent, depending on your policy. Make sure you understand these out of pocket costs on your medical insurance quote.

Getting Treatment Outside Your Network

Some insurance plans pay the most benefits when the patient visits doctors recommended by the plan. This list of doctors is called the network. Therefore you are advised to use only doctors inside the network. That is not always possible, however, if you are traveling outside your network area. In that case, be sure your medical insurance quote explicitly states any differences in network costs.

You can shop for medical insurance and stare at quotes until your eyes cross. It is a very important task, however, and can save you a great deal of money should a medical emergency strike. The best way to compare plans from different companies is to get a medical insurance quote from each one. Then compare the items listed above, as well as the other costs and details. Then you can select the best health insurance plan for your family and budget.