How to: Buying Health Insurance for the First Time

In the U.S., 26 is the age where we all have to leave our parent’s insurance plans and have to essentially figure things out for ourselves. So where exactly does one start?

  1. Make a plan. As with most first steps, it’s important to create a plan. Depending on the type of coverage you were previously covered under, yours might expire on a different date, so make sure you know when it actually ends. From there, it’s important to map out your next steps and do some research.
  2. Weigh your options. Depending on your health status and how often you see a doctor, that’ll help you determine what type of plan is best for you. If you are someone who only goes to the doctor once or twice a year, a high deductible plan would probably be best for you. This means that you pay more at the doctor’s office but your monthly payments are a lot lower. However, if you can afford a higher premium and go to the doctor often, a low deductible plan might be in your best interest.
  3. Look at all aspects of insurance. An insurance plan goes further than just deductibles and premiums. Make sure you understand each plan’s copays, co-insurance (the amount paid after you’ve met your deductible), and even researching the difference between PPOs and HMOs will help influence your decision greatly.

Image via AZCentral.com.