The average American household spends twice as much today for insurance as it did in 1980 for the same type of coverage, according to an analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditures Survey by data company Clever.
This means that now, more than ever, it’s important to choose the right insurance carrier. Besides helping you manage your costs, carefully selecting a carrier will ensure that you and your family have the coverage you need, and a helping hand if the worst does occur.
With so many insurance carriers out there to choose from, narrowing your options can feel overwhelming. Check out these tips to help you simplify the process.
1. Choose a Carrier Available in Your Region
Just because an insurance carrier is a national brand doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s available everywhere. When you start your search for a new provider, make sure that you are only searching carriers that actually offer coverage where you live.
If you already have doctors or hospitals that you prefer to visit, check to see whether those providers are covered by any plans that a specific carrier has to offer. Even if they are covered, you may find that you’ll need to pay more or choose a specific coverage plan in order to keep visiting the same doctors or hospitals.
2. Check the Types of Coverage
Perhaps the most important thing to look for when choosing an insurance carrier is the types and options of insurance coverage they have to offer.
While a company offering a single plan may fit your needs, having more coverage options will help you better customize your insurance to suit your needs.
Every individual is unique, and their insurance needs are no different. If you’re nearing retirement, consider doing your research on Medicare now. As Original Medicare only covers the basics, many people choose to supplement their coverage with a Medicare Advantage plan. Anthem offers a variety of plans that allow you to choose the right option for your needs.
3. Weighing Cost Against Coverage
While getting enough coverage is important, finding a monthly premium that is affordable is also a concern. Finding a balance between premiums, deductibles and coverage can be confusing, but it’s an important step in choosing the right carrier.
It can be tempting to scale back the coverage you’re looking for in order to lower your monthly bills. But keep in mind that many types of coverage may cost more upfront, but can save you far more money in the long run.
For instance, consider that the average adult between the ages of 65 and 79 pays $456 a year for prescriptions, according to Georgetown University data. Those over the age of 80 or anyone with a chronic condition pays far more. Weigh that against the low monthly premium for supplemental insurance coverage for Medicare, and suddenly the coverage option far outweighs the cost of the premium.
4. Ask for Help Before You Need It
The last thing you want to deal with when you or a family member is having a medical crisis is to discover that your insurance provider is impossible to reach, or difficult to file a claim with.
Before you purchase a plan, call the insurance provider to see how easy they are to reach. You can also use online reviews to find out whether other customers have had trouble reaching the insurer during their time of need.
Choosing the Right Insurance Carrier
Choosing the right insurance carrier for yourself and your family doesn’t have to be a challenge. By weighing your costs against the coverage offered, checking other insurance or plan options, narrowing your search to only those available in your region, and checking to make sure they are easy to reach, you can pick the perfect carrier for you.