5 things to know when shopping for health insurance

3:18 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Open enrollment through MNSure has been available for a little over a week now, and for some, questions and confusion persists on how to choose the right plan.

On Tuesday, Steve Peterson from Perferred One, one of the companies offering insurance, explained five of the most important things to consider when shopping for health insurance regardless of where you buy it.

Insurance isn't optional. You must carry healthcare insurance beginning Jan. 1, 2014 or pay a penalty that increases each year. Enrolling on time is a good way to protect your financial future, as medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcies. It will pay off to get smart on health insurance plans and make an informed choice now.

Know your provider network - The biggest difference in plans is which doctors, clinics and hospitals are covered. Before choosing a plan, check to make sure your doctor is part of the network, or consider if you are willing to make a change.

Keep kids' needs in mind - Beyond immunizations and wellness checks, kids can have special needs, like dental services and eyeglasses. PreferredOne plans cover those types of expenses, but not all plans do. Check to make sure you clearly understand the youth benefits.

Do the math - There is more to selecting a plan than just calculating what you will pay every month in premiums. The most inexpensive plan may be based on premiums but make sure you also look also at what out of pocket expenses you are responsible for as well as any deductible you could be responsible for on a yearly basis.

Shop around - There are many insurance carriers, plans, subsidies and government programs available. Comparing plans and rates is a good way to start. Do you want a gym benefit? How about dental insurance? Many people also will qualify for government benefits or tax credits.

To find out which plans are right for you and explore all of your options contact an insurance agent or visit MNsure.com.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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