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Monday, March 17, 2014 |

Tips for First-Time Health Insurance Buyers

This year I turn 26, which means I’ll be officially booted off my parents’ health-insurance plan. This also means that it’s time for me to start taking a look at insurance providers. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) now officially in action, there are some new considerations when choosing a provider.

After some research, here are tips for people like me who are in need of a provider:

  • Determine the lowest you can pay for what you need. Though the ACA plans offer free preventive visits, you’ll need to consider things like co-pays and co-insurance and other out-of-pocket costs.
  • Pick the right plan type for you. There are several different plan types, including HMOs (health maintenance organizations), EPOs (exclusive provider organizations) and PPOs (preferred provider organizations). Learn more about them here.
  • Determine the size of provider you’ll need. Some ACA plans have smaller networks, which means you have fewer choices. This is more likely to be an issue if you live in a rural area, but there are other factors to consider that might influence what size provider you go with. This is an important step in which you should do some research.
  • Ask your doctor about your choices. If you already have found a doctor that you like, find out which providers will allow you to stay with that doctor.
  • Learn about the company’s customer service. The last thing you want to do is choose a provider that is known for being extremely difficult to work with. Research each company that you’re considering and find out which one has the best reputation.
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