Health Insurance Bingo: Selecting a Plan That Works For You
Changing health insurance providers is not something I like to do. It often requires having to find a new primary care physician and specialists. Spending a few dollars more is worth not going through the hassle of finding new doctors, especially when you have an autoimmune disease. Whether we like it or not it is inevitable that we will have to switch providers at some point in our lives. This fall, my husband and I will be sitting down and comparing the pros and cons of each plan available to us. If we are lucky we will start 2019 with a plan we can afford and that will cover what we need to be covered. In the meantime, we begin our game of insurance bingo and hope that we can get what we need to line up.
The squares I need
There are several things I look at when choosing a new insurance provider. The first being, can my husband and I afford it? This is more important than whether or not my doctors or treatments are covered. A high premium or ridiculously expensive out of pocket expenses will prevent me from seeing any doctor, not just who I want to see. Who I see was reduced to an optional space years ago when I could no longer afford the plans that my preferred doctors were covered by. This doesn’t mean that I am willing to give up seeing a particular type of specialist, just that I have accepted that I most likely won’t see who I want. As someone who treats her illnesses naturally and alternatively, prescription coverage is not high on my list like it was in the past. While I have come to terms with my natural, holistic, and alternative treatments not being covered, I need a plan that covers doctors who are open to their patients using them. I want doctors who are invested in tracking a condition, no matter how the patient chooses to treat it.
Will it be there when I need it?
No matter how affordable a plan and its services are, it is of no use if it ties the hands of my doctors or covers doctors who have no desire to do anything but write prescriptions. My current HMO may be affordable, but it is not healthy. It doesn’t matter what it costs if it won’t cover something that can be repaired or is life-saving. I know that I shouldn’t get my hopes up. There are no perfect plans. But seriously, with the exception of an occasional emergency, my current plan is useless.
What do you look for when choosing a health insurance plan? Have you had to trade quality care for affordability?
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