Remember that old joke, “Not only do I not know the answers, I can’t remember the questions”? That may be the position you find yourself in when thinking about an individual family plan or senior health insurance. In order to purchase health insurance, you need to understand what you are buying so you can make an intelligent decision.

To help you make that decision, always use a licensed insurance broker. If you want to feel confident in your decision read on! When an insurance carrier has either a physician or facility in their network they have negotiated a contracted fee with that doctor/facility. Most, but not all plans, will let you enjoy the contracted rate. Make sure that the policy you buy includes that option. The question should be “With this plan do I get the discounted rate?” If the answer is “No”, find a different plan. Also, if you have a high deductible health plan, make sure you get that contracted rate without having to meet the deductible.

Some people have remarked that if they have a high deductible health plan of $10,000, what good is that? If you have a major illness or a long hospital stay you might have a bill of $250,000.00 or more. It would be far better to pay the $10,000 than $250,000. Think about it this way: if you have no health insurance you will pay the entire medical bill…..which in this instance is $250,000.00.

There are some of you out there that also think about not carrying any health insurance and taking your chances. But that is sort of like playing Russian Roulette with your life and health. If you have an individual family plan and a high deductible health plan to keep your health insurance premiums within reason there are still lots of things for you to take advantage of with that plan. At the top of the list would be avoiding bankruptcy in case of a major illness or accident. Medical insurance will also provide you access to quality care from doctors and hospitals even if you should become ill while traveling. Make sure you purchase a plan that covers you wherever you may be and not just the city or county that you live in. When you are uninsured and need emergency treatment you will get that, and the bill. However, all the ER is required to do is stabilize you. If you have a situation where you need follow up and medications and perhaps surgery they are not required to provide that. It is important to know, especially if you have a high deductible health plan, whether or not your plan covers physical therapy and what the limits are for the number of times you may go to therapy. When you have insurance you will be more inclined to take better care of yourself. Your health insurance will offer you a free check up every year for you and your loved ones. Be sure to find out if your plan covers blood tests, Advanced Imaging Services (MRIʼs etc.), and age appropriate tests like colonoscopies after the age of fifty. You should find out if these services are available before you meet the deductible.