1. Make certain that you do business with a reputable company. Ask parents and family members, check the company’s website for their A.M. Best rating which indicates financial strength and stability or visit with an independent insurance agent who represents a number of different insurers.
2. Make sure that the insurance company you choose has a national network of doctors and hospitals. Network discounts might save you 30-40% or even more on the cost of your medical care. You also want to know that there are doctors and hospitals you can use wherever you might visit or relocate to find employment.
3. Understand the plan that you are buying, what it covers and what it doesn’t. Know what you are responsible for paying. Every plan has exclusions and limitations – ask questions and learn what the basic terms mean.
4. Look at plans that offer higher deductibles (the higher the deductible, the lower your premium). For many younger, healthier people, high deductible plans that protect them from the larger expenses make sense and help make health insurance coverage much more affordable.
5. Don’t overlook short term health insurance, which is meant to be a temporary bridge to a longer term solution. Most plans are 1-6 or 1-12 months and you can generally reapply for additional coverage. Short term health insurance usually costs less, is easy to understand and the application process is quick and simple.
6. Be certain that you can drop your coverage without penalty if you find a job with health benefits.
7. Importantly, no one can afford to be without health insurance. Find the right plan that meets both your health care and budget needs.