When choosing a health insurance plan, BBB - Greater MD urges consumers to consider these important factors before signing a contract:
* Do you or a dependant have any special needs to consider? What type of coverage does the plan have regarding these needs? * What group insurance options do they offer, what are the benefits, disadvantages, and costs of each type (e.g., HMO's, PPO's, POS's, and Health Savings Accounts). * Do you have a choice of doctors; how you would see a specialist if needed? * Are there enough health care providers close to you in the plan you are considering? * How does the plan deal with a dispute over a benefit? * What are the co-payments, or the amount that you will pay for doctor or hospital visits? What about prescription drugs? * What is the deductible? This is the amount of money paid before the insurance privileges kick in. Is there a deductible for each person or a total deductible for the entire family? * Does the carrier have a catastrophic maximum? For example, if you spend a set dollar amount in a coverage year, will the company cover expenses for the balance of the year? * Once you've narrowed your decision to two selections, make a comparison chart and pick the one that best suits your needs.
Insurance agents can be of assistance when choosing a health insurance plan. However, BBB and the Maryland Insurance Commission remind consumers to be suspicious of door to door, fax, or phone solicitations. An insurance agent has to be licensed to sell insurance in the state of Maryland. The license must be renewed every two years. BBB recommends you check out the legitimacy of a plan or an agent by calling the Maryland Insurance Commission at 410-468-2242. For a list of Accredited Businesses in the insurance industry go to www.bbb.org.