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What To Look For In A Health Insurance Carrier

There are many different health insurance carriers offering health care coverage in the United States. From large nationwide insurance companies that offer health plans in many different states with tens of thousands of physicians and medical facilities in their networks to small regionally focused companies with relatively miniscule networks that are focused on a very confined regional locale there are indeed many different insurance companies to choose from.

Having a large network and a strong brand name are definitely good things for an insurance company to have but is that all there is to choosing the best health insurance company?

Let’s take a look at 5 criteria to evaluate when looking for a health insurance company so that you can be an informed and educated insurance shopper – and save some time and money in the process!

Here are 5 things that you should know about your health insurance company and any company that you are investigating purchasing health insurance from:

1. Their AM Best Rating – this is a rating given by AM Best, an independent organization that rates the financial strength of insurance companies. You want your insurance company to have a “B+” rating or better (the highest rating given is A++). Keep in mind that these rating only signify the financial strength and claims paying ability of the insurance company. The rating doesn’t have anything to do with rating the company’s product line or plan selection. In fact, many insurance companies with sub-par health insurance plans will over-emphasize their company’s AM Best rating so as to direct attention away from their health insurance plans.

2. Their Network – generally speaking, the larger the plan network then the better it is for you but if you are planning on staying in the same place and using the same doctor (forever) then this might not be as much of a concern for you. However, keep in mind that if you should need to see a specialist then your options may be severely limited on a health insurance plan from a company with a very small network. (Note: almost all health insurance companies will treat all emergency services as being in-network – regardless of where the treatment takes place).

3. Their Customer Service – this is something that many times you can only find out until after the fact but it pays to keep your ear to the ground and maybe solicit the opinion of others in your situation. An independent health insurance agent (an agent that can work with more than just one insurance company) is usually very helpful in this situation as they can give you (hopefully) unbiased and objective advice.

4. Their Plans – this is probably the most important of all of the different criteria. You will want to closely examine the plan with a qualified health insurance agent to be sure that you understand how the deductibles, coinsurance, copays, limits, exclusions, and other parts of the plan work. Steer clear of discount health cards or discount programs which are not true health insurance but are sometimes marketed as insurance. Also, you will want to choose a comprehensive major medical plan without any calendar year limits or procedure limits. Watch out for indemnity health insurance plans that although priced very attractively will limit the amount of benefits that are paid out for many different types of procedures. If something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.

5. Their Rates – this is also a very important thing to consider. Again, this is not the only thing to consider but it is very important. As the old saying goes, “All health insurance is the same – until you actually have to use it!” You will want to find a comprehensive major medical plan that will cover you with $3,000,000 or more of lifetime coverage in the event of a huge medical bill. As far as the extras like copays for doctor’s visits and preventative benefits – those are nice things to have on a plan but many times it can be more cost effective to choose a plan with a higher deductible or with a little less of the pricey “add-ons”. Many people are able to save quite a bit of money by choosing a health savings account because of the HSA’s lower monthly premiums and attractive tax benefits.

Take a few moments and use our free quote finder to search many different health insurance companies in our agent network that provides free health insurance quotes. Search quotes from Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, Assurant, Vista, Kaiser Permanente, UniCare, CIGNA, Celtic, PacifiCare, Golden Rule, United American, Mega Life, and many more! Get free health insurance quotes now!