Since the creation of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, health insurance has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this is especially true this time of the year as many begin the process of looking for a new form of insurance for 2019. If you are one of many looking exploring your options on, here are a few things to keep in mind before the December 15th deadline.

1. Know Your Income

The first thing you’ll need to do is calculate your income. If your income is low enough, you or your children may already qualify for Medicaid. While Medicaid has strict eligibility guidelines that vary state to state, it would mean that you would no longer be eligible for private ACA plans. Also, your income also determines that tax credit you may have to lower your monthly premium.

2. What are the Different Types of Plans?

The different types of health insurance are not new. They include EPO, HMO, POS, and PPO. It’s important to keep the type of insurance in mind if you already have a family physician or specialist. For those who don’t know what these acronyms stand for, here is a quick break down.

-Exclusive Provider Organization or EPO is a care plan that only covers services from in-network providers unless it is an emergency.

-Health Maintenance Organization or HMO limits coverage to those who work for or contract with the HMO. This plan also generally does not cover out-of-network care except in emergencies.

-Point of Service or POS has lower fees for doctors and hospitals in the plan’s network. It also requires that you have a referral from your primary physician to see a specialist.

-Preferred Provider Organization or PPO is similar to POS where you pay less for in-network providers. However, you do not need a referral for out-of-network providers. Instead, you must pay an extra fee.

3. Keep the Deductible in Mind

The deductible is something not every person thinks about their insurance despite how much it impacts the cost of health. Many deductibles on the affordable plans listed on can be as high as $7000, meaning you will still be paying out of pocket for most medical expenses. A large deductible and small premium are better for people who typically spend a lot on care since their costs would significantly decrease after meeting the deductible. However, it’s terrible for those who don’t spend much money yearly for care but also don’t want to pay a lot on monthly premiums.
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