Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Health Insurance

How to Skirt Common Health Insurance Traps

By + More

Besides these factors, you should also check those listed below. Be on the alert for:

  • The percentage of applicants denied enrollment, which is a measure of a plan's selectivity. Some issuers offer plans but turn down two-thirds of applicants or more, based on concerns about their medical risk or other factors. A high denial rate may be an indication that, if you or someone in your family has medical issues, you may want to look at more inclusive plans.
  • The percentage of applicants charged more than the stated premium. Just as some plans turn down many applicants for medical reasons, some issuers charge a high percentage of policyholders more than the stated premium for coverage. Plans may accept these policyholders anyway, but charge more because their medical history suggests that they are likely to use more services.
  • Specific categories of care that aren't covered by a given plan, such as cosmetic surgery, children's eye exams and weight-loss therapy.
  • Plans with a narrow scope of benefits or strict limitations that may leave you exposed to high medical costs related to catastrophic injuries or ailments. Generally speaking these are plans that are more likely to have received fewer stars in the U.S. News analysis. Always read the fine print before you settle on a plan.
  • Plans with high deductibles (generally defined as $1,200 or more for an individual and $2,400 and up for a family) that may cover you for severe medical problems but could saddle you with mounting bills for routine care. Under the Affordable Care Act, a high-deducible plan purchased after March 2010 must offer free preventive care whether or not you've met the deductible. (If you're healthy and want to minimize your monthly premium, you may prefer a high-deductible plan. They can be coupled with tax-deductible health savings accounts, which allow you to put aside money for routine medical expenses.)
  • Plans that do not cover specific drugs that you need. Visit the plan's website to see whether your medications are included in the plan's formulary.
  • Plans whose networks don't include the doctors and hospitals where you get your care.
  • Next: Find the Best Health Insurance Plan for you



    TAGS:
    health
    health care
    health insurance
    Health Insurance Guide

    Search the U.S. News guide to health insurance and Marketplaces in all 50 States.