Expert Advice: Finding the Best Health Insurance


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Your Personal Guide to Health Insurance - Finance Buddha Blog | Enlighten  Your Finances

The best health insurance for you may depend on what type of insurance you’re eligible for, such as whether you can get insurance through your job, the government or the Marketplace. Finding the right health insurance for you also means thinking about the type of coverage you need and how you prefer to pay for it. And, how much do you value flexibility and breadth in your choice of health care providers? The answer will determine what plan you’d be happiest with. No matter your options and priorities, try to go with the highest-quality plan you can afford.

Figure out what type of health insurance you’re eligible for.

If your job or your spouse’s job offers health benefits, that’s likely to be a good option because the employer pays for part of the coverage. Employer-sponsored insurance is often comprehensive and generous, though the coverage depends on each employer.

There are other ways to get health insurance coverage if you don’t have comprehensive, affordable health insurance through a job. First, see if you qualify for government-sponsored insurance through Medicaid — state-run insurance for people with low incomes or disabilities — or Medicare, which offers federally administered benefits for Americans 65 and older.

If none of these options is available to you, visit the Marketplace ( for health insurance options in your area. Even though Marketplace insurance options are offered by private companies, many people qualify for government subsidies which help make that private insurance a lot more affordable.

Determine the type of coverage you need.

Would you rather pay less in premiums but be at risk for higher health care bills until you meet a large deductible? Or would you pay more each month to have more of your ongoing needs covered? While the cost of health insurance plans is indeed a huge factor, you should pay attention to quality as well. This situation is the trade-off you should consider when deciding what kind of health insurance is best for you.

Similarly, in choosing between an HMO, PPO or POS, consider if you’re willing to trade flexibility for savings. If you want to go to any doctor or facility, you will pay more, but if you can stick within the health plan’s network of preferred providers, you can usually save money.

Check health insurance provider quality ratings.

The National Commission for Quality Assurance (NCQA) evaluates health plans on a wide range of quality and satisfaction measures. You can search their ratings of commercial and private health insurers to find highly rated plans in your area.

For each insurance company, the ratings show the overall quality rating by plan type and specific scores for consumer satisfaction, prevention and treatment. For each category, you can click through to see detailed scores on specific aspects of care or consumer experiences, such as the quality of doctors or the ease and efficiency of getting needed care.

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