6 Easy Ways to Change a Health Insurance Plan
Many people right now are unhappy with the significant price hikes in premiums from health insurance carriers. Like you, they want to know what their other health insurance options are. The one thing that gives people hesitation about changing their health plan is the messiness of it all. They are not even sure if they need to transfer medical files and how to go about making a seamless transition from one set of doctors to another. But it’s open enrollment, and they have a whole new set of prices and options.
There are so many reasons people are considering switching your health insurance carrier, the main one being that they are not happy with the doctor(s) they are currently seeing. Or, perhaps they had a silver tier health insurance plan and found it lacking in coverage because they saw their doctors more often than they’d estimated and ended up paying some considerable out-of-pocket bills last year.
Are you in the same or similar boat? We’re here to help you make a smooth transition to a better insurance match.
Not thrilled with your health plan and want to pay less? Switching insurers and doctors seems like a daunting task but it’s really easy. We’re here to help. Below are some helpful steps for making a smooth transition from one doctor to another, which is the main thing that changes when you change your health insurance carrier.
1. Should I See My Current Doctor Before I Switch?
Yes, before choosing a new doctor, visit your old one. Discuss your health concerns and take notes on your condition, medication, and concerns as your doctor address them. Get prepped to take all this vital information and give it to your new primary care physician when you meet him/her.
At the end of the visit, make an appointment to pick up a copy of your medical records so they can be prepared and ready for you. You also have the option of having them transferred to your new provider. Make sure that any surgery, imaging or lab work results are included in this transfer.
If you feel it’s appropriate, tell them politely why you decided to change doctors.
2. How Do I Look for a New Doctor with a New Health Insurance Plan?
The biggest fear people have when considering switch health insurance carriers is finding a good doctor in the health plan’s network. Only the lucky few have found their dream doctor and shop for health insurance based on their find. Chances are you’ll have to choose the carrier and plan before you get assigned a primary physician.
The fact is that finding the right doctor is not complicated. If you’re relatively healthy, not at all committed to your physician and want to save some money, let SmartFinancial compare health insurance quotes for you.
You can choose what level of protection you want and what you are willing to pay for it. If saving money is your biggest priority, you’ll be given several options to choose from. After you choose a health plan, you can choose a doctor.
3. How Do I Find a Good Doctor?
Choosing a new doctor from a list of in your network takes seconds too. You can do it with or without the help of a carrier agent. Often, you can choose doctors based on your area by visiting your new health insurance carrier’s website.
If you have a few options for doctors to choose from in a network, you can look up reviews of the doctor on Yelp or the doctor recommended HealthGrades website and narrow down to a couple of doctors.
Make an appointment with your top choice.
4. I Found a New Primary Care Physician—But What if S/he Is Wrong for Me?
If you know that you are particular about choosing a doctor, you can choose a primary physician and change your doctor until you find the right match.
Make an appointment and bring the medical records with you (more on this below). Discuss your health concerns with your new primary care physician. You don’t have to commit to that first doctor. If for whatever reason you don’t feel right after a first visit, you can call the carrier and ask to change your primary care physician and visit a second, even a third, doctor. Take your medical records to your next visit, which will hopefully be a better match.
Keep in mind that you will have to pay a copay for each visit, even if you don’t want to continue with that doctor.
5. What About My Specialists?
If you have a pre-existing condition or see a specialist, like a dermatologist, you will be placed in the care of the appropriate doctor by your primary care physician without much trouble. Usually, primary care physicians work with affiliate specialists and are affiliated with certain hospitals. All you have to do is pick the right primary care physician and the rest is easy.
6. What if I Have a Serious Condition?
If you have a serious and/or chronic pre-existing condition that needs constant special care, you can find a new doctor and make sure your medical records are transferred to that doctor easily. If you have a rare or fatal condition you may want to check local and national medical groups (the Amyloidosis Association, for instance) to see which specialists have practices in your area.
In these cases, you’ll need to sign off with your previous provider in a responsible way. See more on this below.
In most instances, if you buy a platinum-tier health insurance policy from any good carrier, you will be well taken care of, even with serious health conditions. We help you compare different health insurance quotes for every level of care if you visit here.
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According to a 2015 study, called Medical Spending of the U.S. Elderly, on average, people aged 65 and up spend over $18,000 a year on medical expenses. Yes, your parents may qualify for Medicare, but did you know that there are many areas they won’t have coverage?
Don’t miss Open Enrollment (Nov 1-Dec 15) because you may be stuck waiting another year to buy health insurance if you do. Do you want to be exposed to accidents and illnesses?
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A 65-year-old retiring in 2019 will spend about $135,000 to $150,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs during their retirement. This astronomical figure has gone up about $2500 since last year. Of course, these costs would be higher if you have an existing condition or if you live longer than the average American.
Like auto and homeowners insurance healthcare insurance also has a deductible which needs to be paid before insurance begins to cover expenses. However, healthcare deductibles work a little differently. For instance, your healthcare insurance will pay for some services even before you meet your deductible.
You may be shopping for health insurance because you got a new job, which doesn’t offer health insurance. Some people even prefer to have a health plan separate from their jobs. It’s usually a more expensive option to buy an individual health insurance policy when an employer offers to pay a portion of your premiums each month. However, some people prefer to choose their own insurance company and a plan that fits their needs.