Sunday, May 6, 2018

See which insurance plans your existing providers accept

Do you already have a primary care physician or specialists whom you like and want to keep seeing? If so, start your search for health insurance by calling those offices and asking them which plans they prefer, which other plans they accept and if they have any intention of changing what insurance they accept in the near future. Calling your providers directly is not only easier than contacting insurance companies to ask if your providers are in network; it also means getting the most current information and the scoop on any upcoming changes. You don’t want to choose a plan from a particular insurance company because your doctor appears to be in the network, only to learn that the insurer’s list of in-network providers is outdated and incorrect – or your doctor is leaving the network next year. (For related reading, see 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Health Insurance and Finding the Right Health Plan.)

It’s possible that not all of your current providers accept the same insurance. If that is the case, you’ll have to make some tough decisions about which providers you want to keep seeing at in-network rates, which you might be willing to replace with different providers in your new insurance network and which ones you can afford to pay for at out-of-network rates. If you find yourself in this situation, ask your current providers about their cash and out-of-network rates to see what costs you might face if you have to choose an insurer that only has some of your providers in its network. (If cost is your primary concern, see Find the Cheapest Health Insurance Providers.) You’ll also want to make sure any prescription drugs you take on a regular basis are covered by the plans you’re considering, especially if the medications are pricey or don’t have generic substitutes.

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