Obtaining Health Insurance Quotes Tips

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Double Check Before You Check In

Anesthesiologists, radiologist and other specialists don't always accept the same insurance as the doctor who admits you to the hospital. Call your doctor to get the names of the medical providers who will be involved in your treatment, and verify with your insurer that they're in the network. Also, don't assume that because your physician may be covered by your insurance, that the hospital/facility he/she is performing the procedure at also accepts your insurance. Insurance companies tend to change guidelines every so often, so it is always a good idea to double check the doctors and the facilities with your insurance company before you check in, no matter how long you have been with the insurance company.


Are You On “The List”?

If you're shopping around for a new health insurance policy, and you've applied for individual health, life, disability or long-term-care insurance in the past seven years, go to www.MIB.com to see whether this insurance industry antifraud group has a file on you. Request a copy (it's free) to make sure the information provided about your health status is right. If you find a mistake, ask for a correction in writing ASAP because the slightest errors can drive up your premiums by hundreds of dollars a year.

What are some reputable online health insurance quote sites?

Online Quote Sites

There are a number of reputable online health insurance sites. These include sites such as Insurelane, InsWeb, NetQuote, QuickQuote, Insurance.com, Insure.com, IntelliQuote, iLeads, eHealthInsurance or Quotemonster. All of these sites have been up and running for at least five years, and some have been around as long as 15 years. Each of these sites has a database ranging from 300 to 1,000 agents and insurance companies which searches through when a quote request is submitted. Some companies will provide an instant health insurance quote once you upload your quote request profile. Other companies have participating insurers and agents contact you via e-mail your submission. QuoteMonster and Insurelane offer portals that will direct you to a list of quote generators where you can comparison shop till your heart's content.

How do I begin to compare health insurance quotes?

Comparing Quotes

If you are in the market for health insurance, chances are you are a small business owner or an independent contractor. Whether you are deciding between group insurance benefits offered through a professional group or an individual insurance you would like to purchase directly from the insurer, there are two key factors that should guide your decision: total out-of-pocket costs vs. covered services.

Many people only focus on premiums, but premiums are only part of the story.

One plan may offer lower premiums but have an unrealistically high deductible. Another plan may have a higher premium but offer a more reasonable deductible and cover a broader array of services. It is suggested that you sit down carefully and work out the total costs for each health insurance plan you are considering, including the annual premium amount, the deductible amount, any co-pays, and out-of-pocket maximums.

With health care insurance, you generally get what you pay for. However, whatever plan you choose, make sure it covers the types of services you reasonably expect to need during the coverage period, and that the total out-of-pocket expenses which fit within your budget.

Where can I get health insurance quotes for my small business?

Small Business Quotes

Some costs of insurance can be expensive, so it is critical that small business owners conduct due diligence when shopping for plans to cover themselves and their employees. Obtaining health insurance quotes and selecting the best one can be beneficial to a company, regardless of its size. Many online quote Web sites have services geared specifically to small business owners. If you belong to any professional associations, check to see if they offer access to group insurance as a member benefit. If so, you can and should get small business health insurance quotes from them as well.

Is it safe to seek health insurance quotes online?

Online Quotes

The depth and breadth of products and services you can shop for and purchase online is always increasing, and health insurance is no exception. Obtaining health insurance quotes online is simple. There are a number of reputable sites that offer free health insurance quotes, but there are also just as many disreputable ones as well. If you have any doubt that a site is reputable, it is best not to use it it. Find a site that you have confidence in.

Clues that an insurance quote site is reputable include membership in both its local and online Better Business Bureau. The number of years in business is another tip off. A company that has been around for a number of years is more likely to be legitimate than one recently established. You can find out how long a company has been in business by checking with the Better Business Bureau--assuming the business is a member. If the site provides concrete contact information including at minimum, a phone number where you can reach a human being rather than a recording, shows it might be reputable. Finally, while you may have to give a lot of information about health conditions and contact information via online questionnaire forms in order for the site to calculate your insurance quote, a reputable site would not ask you for your social security number, a credit card number, a bank account number, or any other personal financial information. This information should not be provided.

Any site asking you to pay for a quote should be left immediately. Reputable insurance quote sites provide free health insurance quotes.

Where can I get health insurance quotes?

Finding Quotes

There are a variety of ways of obtaining health insurance quote. There is the usual way of picking up the phone and calling an insurance company. Depending on the company, you will probably spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes answering health-related and demographic questions such as what your address is, your age, and whether or not you are a smoker. You might also be asked questions regarding which deductible you prefer and other policy-specific questions. It is possible to use an online insurance quote Web site to request quotes from a variety of insurers approved to provide benefits in your state.

Plan to spend about 15 minutes filling out an online questionnaire, and be prepared to give your contact information. Some of these sites will display quotes instantly, but most want contact information before providing that information so a sales person can follow-up with you. Finally, if you have a specific insurance company in mind, check out its company Web site. Most of them offer an online insurance quote request button.

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Barbara Gibson