What Should I Ask When Seeking a Plan?

What Should I Ask When Seeking a Plan?

What Should I Ask When Seeking a Plan?

You now have more choices than ever when shopping for a health insurance plan. Whether you purchase directly through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, the Health Insurance Marketplace or a licensed insurance agent, you can compare and shop for a policy that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Open Enrollment for 2021 health insurance begins on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15. During this time, you’ll need to decide if you’re going to apply for a new individual or family plan, keep your current plan or pick a new one. Of course, as with any big purchase, like a car or a TV, there are a few things you should do to prepare before buying. As your search for health insurance coverage begins, ask yourself:

What provider network does the plan use?

  • Is your current doctor in the plan’s network, and is this important to you?
  • Have you checked to see if your doctors, specialists, hospitals or urgent care centers are in the plan’s network that you selected? You can use the BCBSIL Provider Finder to check.

How often do you visit the doctor?

  • Do you only get sick two or three times during the year?
  • Do you have a health condition that results in frequent visits to the doctor or hospital?
  • Are you thinking about having a child?

Do you take prescription drugs?

  • Can you take a generic drug, or do you take name-brand drugs that may cost you more each month? Drug coverage may differ by plan. You can see the formulary, also known as drug lists, for each plan we offer as well.
  • Note what the drug deductibles and copays are for each plan. If you take a lot of medicine for a health issue, you may be better off paying a slightly higher monthly premium to have lower drug costs.

How much can you spend?

  • Every plan is different, so before shopping, figure out your budget. How much will you be able to spend every month? Think about the monthly premium, but also keep in mind the deductible, copayments and other out-of-pocket costs to figure out what you could end up paying within a year, should you have unexpected medical bills. 
  • If you think you may be able to get financial assistance, use our subsidy calculator to check. You may qualify for a plan with a low premium.

Do you need dental coverage?

  • Some plans include dental coverage or you can buy a separate dental plan.
  • If you know you will need a lot of dental work next year, such as an implant or kid’s braces, you may want to add a Health Spending Account to cover out-of-pocket costs.

What do the plans look like?

  • There are many plans to choose from that can meet your needs and budget.
  • Visit the Shop Plans page on our website to learn more and shop for a plan that’s just right for you.

Now you know what to ask yourself, so do you have any questions for us? Call us at 1-877-731-4649 or log in and ask below!

Original publish December 3, 2014; Revised 2015-2020

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