How to Choose Health Insurance: Your Guide to Comparing Plans

Posted on October 6, 2018

If you're considering getting supplemental health care in Canada, be prepared to face some unique challenges. Choosing the right plan is anything but easy. There are many options to choose from, and each has its advantages and drawbacks.

No matter your age, your current health, or your income level, no one is immune from a medical emergency, an illness, or even an unexpected diagnosis.

If you're wondering "What health insurance should I get?" then you need to keep on reading this post.

We'll tell you everything you need to know about how to choose health insurance that helps you to cover the cost of medication, vision and dental care, and much more.

We'll also break down the eligibility requirements that you should consider, and tell you where you can compare lots of different plans online.

How to Choose Health Insurance: Understanding Eligibility

When you're choosing health insurance, consider the eligibility requirements associated with the plans you're interested in.

Are you concerned that you don't meet the requirements of most supplemental coverage in Canada?

Then you may want to look for plans that offer guaranteed acceptance. Just make sure that you apply for health insurance within the first 60 days of losing any group benefits you have.

This is especially good news for those who are close to retirement age, or those who are planning on changing their jobs.

Some insurance plans will also require you to complete a medical questionnaire or undergo a medical examination. While any discoveries made about your health won't always mean you get rejected for coverage, it can impact the plans that you're eligible for.

The idea of having to take a medical exam in order to get health insurance coverage can be intimidating. Not to mention that it takes time and money.

We suggest that you take a look at this article to have a better understanding of what you can expect. Plus, studying up on the exam will help you to figure out quickly if what you're being asked isn't acceptable or professional.

After all, you don't want to end up getting taken advantage of.

Your current health may also influence the average rates of your coverage. If you have an existing condition, you may end up paying more. Your age matters too.

These are all important factors to take into consideration before you make any sort of final decision about your health insurance plan.

Deciding on the Kind of Coverage You Need

Now that you have a better understanding of basic eligibility requirements, let's talk a bit more about how to choose health insurance that offers the coverage you need.

Your specific coverage needs will depend on your current health, your income level, or even your personal preferences. Not everyone requires as much coverage as others do, and you don't want to end up having to pay for something that you don't really need.

Each healthcare provider offers plans that usually have lots of different coverage levels and extras.

This means that you'll be able to get specific when it comes to things like your deductible, the type of care you need, and even the covered cost of your prescription medications.

You should look at the percentage of cost coverage that each plan offers, as well as the specific health issues the plan provides for. For example, you may find that you need a plan that offers dental care, but don't need one that covers vision care.

You might need a plan that provides coverage in the event of emergency medical services, or even one that guarantees you a semi-private room in a hospital.

If you're struggling to compare health insurance plans when it comes to coverage, you may want to work with a broker who can help you to better understand your needs.

Additional Costs Associated with Health Insurance

When you're learning how to choose a health plan that works for you, it's also important to take a look at the fees associated with it.

It goes without saying that you'll need to pay a monthly premium in Canada in order to keep your plan. However, this premium isn't the only cost of health insurance that you need to be aware of.

You'll also likely need to pay a deductible.

But what does that mean, exactly?

Defining a Deductible

In a nutshell, your deductible refers to the out of pocket costs that you have to pay before you coverage will "kick in."

Let's say that you have a $300 deductible on your plan, for example. This means that you'll have to pay $300 on your own before your insurance company will start to cover some of your medical expenses.

So, make sure that you know the deductible amount of a specific plan before you make your final choice about coverage. Also, set a deductible that you can afford.

What Is a Copayment?

You may also need to make a copayment on your health insurance after you've finished paying your deductible.

Your copayment is the amount that you'll need to pay to a specific doctor or health care professional every time you visit their office.

Let's say that you have a $50 copay for visiting a walk-in clinic. That means that you'll need to pay a $50 copay each time you use the services provided by that clinic.

It's important that you understand not just the rates you need to pay each month, but also the deductible and premiums. If a plan has an especially high deductible, then it may end up not being the best fit for you.

But what if it offers the kind of coverage you need?

In this case, a higher deductible amount may be worth it.

Don't Forget to Look at the Maximums

So far in this post, we've talked about how things like the deductible, the premiums, and the copay amounts will influence the overall cost of your health insurance plan.

However, there's one final -- and incredibly important -- factor that you need to take into consideration: the annual maximum associated with a plan.

Remember that a health insurance plan has a maximum amount of coverage that it will provide you with over a specific time period. Many insurance policies carry an annual maximum for certain medical costs.

For example, let's say that you're looking at a health insurance plan that comes with a maximum of $2,000 in vision care every year.

This means that once the plan has paid for $2,000 of your vision care costs, you'll be responsible for paying any additional fees on your own until the following year.

Why the Maximum Matters

If you want to master how to choose a health plan, you need to understand how these maximums will help you to make the right move.

At first, it might seem like picking the health plan with the lowest possible monthly premium payments is the smartest option. But take a closer look at the maximums associated with that plan.

If the maximum amount is under $1,000, then it might be worth it to pay a somewhat higher premium each month.

This way, if you do end up needing extensive care, you won't face exorbitant medical costs that you have to cover on your own.

Sometimes, it's worth spending a bit more money every month to avoid getting stuck with a huge medical bill.

Plus, the costs of medical procedures and prescription drugs are getting higher and higher. Ask yourself if a low premium and a low maximum is really a risk that you want to take.

You don't want to end up making the wrong -- and a very costly -- choice when it comes to your health insurance plan.

Final Thoughts

We hope that now you have a better understanding of what you need to consider when learning how to choose health insurance.

Remember that the copay/deductible, the eligibility requirements, and the conditions covered by the plan are all things that you need to know before making your final decision.

Do you wish to compare insurance plans to understand which one offers the best coverage for your needs?

Want to get a better understanding of the specific percentages of your medical costs that will be covered under an insurance plan?

We can help you with these things and much more.

Spend some time on our website to find the best possible plan for your needs. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

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