Health Insurance Questions to Ask When Shopping for Coverage

Insurance is a foundation of a solid financial plan. Having a health insurance policy that protects your assets and allows you to get the proper health care is one of the most important types of insurance to own.
Asking the right questions and knowing the answers to some basic questions can help a person get the best coverage at the best price. Here are five questions you need to ask when you are shopping for health insurance quotes.

1) Are you licensed to provide insurance in my state of residence?

This is a question you have to ask. Not all insurance companies are licensed to provide health insurance in various states. As a matter of fact, every year hundreds of bogus insurance companies provide false coverage to thousands of people. When you shop for health insurance quotes and buy a policy from an unlicensed provider, you will potentially be left with expensive medical bills. In order to ensure that the company you choose is licensed in your state and has a strong reputation, visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's Website at

2) How much are my monthly premiums and are the premiums subject to change?

The monthly premium is an important considerations when you shop for a health insurance and look for a plan you can afford. Make sure that you understand exactly what your monthly premium is going to be, as well as exactly what kind of coverage you have. Know that monthly premiums are subject to change. When you shop for health insurance, make sure to get a written document that guarantees your premium for a set amount of time as well as how much it can increase over time.

3) How much are my co-payments and deductibles.

A deductible lays out the amount of money you must pay before your insurance begins to cover costs. For example, if you have a $500 deductible, you must pay the first $500 of any medical cost that you incur. A co-payment is the amount you pay anytime you go to the doctor's office, fill a prescription, visit the emergency room, and more. This generally range from $25-$50 in most plans, but again without understanding these costs your plan might be much more expensive than you realized. Deductibles and co-payments can eat up a large amount of money if you don't truly understand the inner workings of your plan. When you shop for health insurance, be sure to look at these attributes to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The more you pay for deductibles and copays, the less you pay for monthly premiums, and vice versa. This is an important consideration when you shop for health insurance quotes.

4) What is the length of the policy I am purchasing?

Short term insurance provides short term policies, generally 6-12 months that must be renewed at the end of the policy. Long term policies, are generally the best option, because they last indefinitely and do not put you in danger if you develop a health condition. However, these plans are more expensive.

Short term coverage being less expensive will sometimes lead to people purchasing this coverage to save money. However, if the person were to develop a medical condition or be in an accident, they may have a hard time renewing coverage. This is saying you become "uninsurable" and an insurance company will not provide you with health coverage.
Be sure to purchase a policy that covers you for the amount of time you may need coverage.

5) Do I qualify for COBRA?

Is that a better option for me? Depending on your situation, you may qualify for COBRA insurance and be able to continue your current health insurance after losing your job. COBRA insurance provides a continuation of care and you will not experience any change or lapse in care which is an important benefit to many people.

When I went to shop for health insurance quotes in 2003, I personally used my COBRA coverage as I was diagnosed with cancer 2 weeks earlier. Cobra coverage is a continuation of an employer sponsored health plan and as long as you continue that coverage in a timely manner (around 1 month after leaving your prior company) you can obtain coverage. However, because of the "guaranteed insurability" attribute of COBRA, you have the potential to get better coverage at a better price when you shop for health insurance quotes. Explore More Cost Effective Alternatives to Cobra. Apply Online.

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