Health insurance is one of the most important investments you will ever make in your life. It’s also one of the most complex ones, and there are a lot of things to consider before you buy a policy.
Here are six things you need to know about health insurance before making a decision.
The Privacy and Security of Health Information
When you get health insurance, your insurer will have access to your medical records. However, according to this link, they are bound by law to keep this information private and secure. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of your health information. This means that your health insurance company can only use and share your health information for specific reasons, like giving you customer service, processing claims, underwriting or risk assessment, detecting fraud or abuse, and other activities as allowed by law.
If you are worried about the privacy and security of your health information, you should contact your health insurance company and ask about their policies and procedures.
You Have the Right to Choose Your Doctor
When you have health insurance, you have the right to choose your doctor. You can go to any doctor or healthcare provider that accepts your insurance. Additionally, you have the right to change doctors at any time. This is called “free choice of provider.”
If you are thinking about changing doctors, you should contact your health insurance company to see if the new doctor is in their network. You should also find out if there are any restrictions on changing doctors, such as having to get a referral from your primary care doctor.
On the other hand, if you need help finding a doctor, your insurance company should be able to provide you with a list of in-network providers. You can also ask your family and friends for recommendations.
You May Qualify for a Government Subsidy
If you’re struggling to pay for health insurance, you may be eligible for a government subsidy. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides subsidies for people who meet certain income requirements. For example, if your income is below 400% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for a subsidy.
If you think you may be eligible for a subsidy, you can apply through the Healthcare Marketplace. You’ll need to provide information about your income and household size, as well as your current health insurance coverage.
You May Need to Get a Physical Exam
Most health insurance plans require you to get a physical exam before they will cover you. This is because insurers want to make sure that you are healthy and do not have any pre-existing conditions that could make your coverage more expensive. For instance, if you have a history of heart disease, your insurer may require you to get a physical exam to make sure that you are still healthy enough to be covered.
If you need to get a physical exam, your doctor will likely perform a basic physical exam and order some tests. These tests may include a blood test, urine test, an EKG while the fees should be covered with your health insurance.
You May Need to Get Vaccinated
Depending on your age, lifestyle, and health history, you may need to get vaccinated against certain diseases as well. For example, if you are a senior citizen, you may need to get a flu shot. Or, if you are planning to travel abroad, you may need to get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
Some vaccines are covered by health insurance, while others are not. For example, the HPV vaccine is typically not covered by health insurance. However, if you have a pre-existing condition that puts you at risk for HPV, your insurance company may cover it.
If you are not sure whether or not you need to get vaccinated, you should talk to your doctor. They will be able to assess your risks and recommend the appropriate vaccines for you.
Health Insurance Card
Once you have health insurance, you will need to get a health insurance card. This card will have your name, date of birth, and insurance policy number on it. You will need to show this card to your doctor or healthcare provider every time you receive care.
Additionally, have in mind that most health insurance plans come with a deductible. This is the amount of money that you will need to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company starts to pay for your care. For example, if your deductible is $500, you will need to pay for the first $500 of your medical bills yourself. After that, your insurance company will start to pay for your care.
Health insurance is an important decision, and you must understand all six of these things before making a choice.
The best way to find the right health insurance for you is to talk to different licensed insurance agents. They can help you compare plans and find the one that best fits your needs.