There are many reasons to consider changing your health insurance. Not the least of which is to find a lower cost health insurance policy. Sometimes changes in our health insurance needs are driven not by choice, but by a change in life circumstances. Marriage, Divorce, Graduation, a new job or even relocating to a new location can all require changes in your health insurance profile.
Regardless of the reason for you to be exploring making a change in your medical coverage here are some worthwhile tips before making any moves.
- Think for the short term. Change is good. You are thinking about changing your health insurance coverage now, you may very likely be thinking about changing again a year from now. Purchase a private health insurance plan that is the best match for your physical and financial needs right now. By this time next year a whole new line of low cost medical insurance options may be available. Not to mention how your life circumstances can change in a year. Short-term health insurance plans are also generally the cheapest medical insurance available.
- Changing medical insurance when you have been given the unfortunate news of a serious illness is never a good idea. Instead check with your current provider for any exclusions or exceptions that may prevent or limit treatments for the illness, and for continuation of coverage options. If you have a serious medical condition and are forced by circumstances outside of your control to switch health insurance, switch to an HMO, you will less likely be turned down
- If you are switching to save money, switch to a health insurance plan with a higher deductible, you can save hundreds even thousands of dollars over a year’s time in premium costs by switching to a higher deductible.
- Many health insurance providers waive enrollment fees or offer other cost saving promotions to switch from a current carrier - take advantage of such offers.
- If you can make the switch out of an HMO to a traditional indemnity plan, this is always a good switch to make.
- Be aware of specific health insurance issues in your State. Rules and regulations regarding health insurance differ from State to State – check with your States Commissioner of Insurance for anything that would make switching health plan harder or easier where you live.
- Always pay for the longest period of time you can. Paying your premiums for at least 3 months or longer if you can you will save significantly over the long run than paying monthly. If you have to pay monthly consider paying the full premium with your credit card and pay back the credit card monthly. The monthly payment will likely still be cheaper than the monthly insurance premium.
- Purchase travel insurance only when you need for an extended trip. It rarely pays to have an out of the country rider on your main health insurance plan.
- Look into the idea of a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account
Don ’t switch just because a plan looks cheaper. If something looks too good to be true, you are probably right. Stick with well-known insurance carriers that are highly rated with verifiable reputations.