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10 things to consider when picking a new health insurance plan

When the time comes to choose a health insurance plan, it's important to keep in mind all the ways having insurance can be beneficial. There are a variety of health care providers to choose from, as well as different insurance options to meet individual needs.  

Do your research ahead of time and consider these 10 benefits of health insurance as you choose a plan that will best suit your lifestyle and budget. 

1. Protect your financial security

Health insurance can help you avoid unexpected and potentially devastating medical expenses. No one plans to become sick or have an accident that requires expensive care. You can rest easy knowing that you have access to care that will keep you healthy without causing serious financial distress. 

2. Live longer (and better!)

Imagine increasing your odds of living a long, healthy life by making 1 simple decision to enroll in health coverage. A study published by the American College of Physicians shows that people with health insurance have improved long-term health outcomes and live longer. Screenings and preventive care are free with Affordable Care Act-compliant plans to help you stay healthy and treat unexpected issues.  

3. Receive care with pre-existing conditions

If you live with a pre-existing condition, you cannot be denied access to health coverage. Additionally, there are no annual or lifetime limits on the amount of care you can get. You will have access to specialists and chronic disease management programs as part of your plan. 

4. Choose the type of plan that works best for you

There are a few common types of insurance coverage for you to consider.

For example, a preferred provider organization (PPO) health plan contracts with medical providers to create a network of participating providers. You can access out-of-network care at a higher cost. Referrals for specialists may or may not be required, meaning you may be able to self-refer if needed. 

Meanwhile, a health maintenance organization (HMO) plan requires patients to receive care from doctors who are contracted by the HMO. Typically, it will not cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. Plans can be specific to a service area based on where you work or live. You will need referrals from your primary care provider (PCP) for specialists. 

Visit our Shop Plans page to check out plans with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC). 

5. Save money based on your estimated health care costs

When choosing your plan, consider your health care needs for the upcoming year. With some plans, the premium amount you pay monthly may be more or less, while the amount you have to pay for covered care and services will vary as well. Deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are important numbers to look out for when reviewing the Summary of Benefits. 

6. Take care of your mind and body

In addition to the essential health benefits that address physical health, you will also receive coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services. This includes behavioral health treatment, such as counseling and psychiatry services

7. Get guidance on healthy lifestyle habits

Many health plans now include educational programs and coaching to support healthy choices in food, physical activity, sleep, and stress management. You may even receive free or discounted exercise classes and health technology like wearables. 

8. Use tech to get the care you need faster

Use your health plan's free online portal to explore the many benefits included with your coverage, right from your phone, tablet, or computer. You can search for in-network providers, read reviews, and keep track of your deductible and out-of-pocket costs. 

If you are a Blue Cross NC member, use Blue Connect to search for providers, prescriptions, and review claims and out-of-pocket costs. 

9. Build a relationship with your PCP

Your health plan will encourage you to choose an in-network PCP who will be the captain of your care team. When you see the same provider regularly, you can get to know each other, feel more comfortable when you need something, and get trusted referrals when needed.

10. Peace of mind

Having health insurance means you can stress less about life's unexpected moments, in addition to knowing you have access to preventive care to help you live your healthiest life. 

The right benefits and support will help you navigate the complexities of health care with confidence. If you have more questions or want to talk about your specific needs, visit one of our locations.

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