About Individual Health Care

Choosing between health plans is not as easy as it once was. Although there is no one "best" plan, there are some plans that will be better than others for you and your family's health needs. Plans differ in how much you have to pay and how easy it is to get the services you need. Although no plan will pay for all the costs associated with your medical care, some plans will cover more than others.

With any health plan you will pay a basic premium, usually monthly, to buy the health insurance coverage. In addition, there are often other payments you must make. These payments will vary by plan but essentially are deductibles and co-payments.

In the "Things to Consider" section of the site, there are some excellent guides about choosing and comparing health plans.

Here's a list of key questions to consider in selecting the plan that best meets your needs:

1. How much will it cost me on a monthly basis?
2. Are there deductibles I must pay before the insurance begins to help cover my costs? After I have met the deductible, what part of my costs are paid by the plan?
3. What doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers are part of the plan? Are there enough of the kinds of doctors I want to see?
4. Where will I go for care? Are these places near where I work or live?
5. If I use doctors outside a plan's network, how much more will I pay to get care?
6. Are there any limits to how much I must pay in case of major illness? What about limits and deductibles for certain types of care such as surgery or maternity?

Source: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and Health Insurance Association of America.

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