What do I need to do to prepare to buy health insurance?

Who is this for?

If you're buying a health plan for the first time or shopping for a new plan, following this advice will help make you a more informed consumer.

When you're making an important purchase, it's equally important to know what you're purchasing. This is especially true for health insurance. After all, you want to make sure you've bought the right plan before you need it.

Whether you're new to buying health insurance or new to our plans for individuals and families, you can be better prepared to make a decision. Here's how.

Six steps to smarter shopping

  1. Learn about the different types of health insurance. You'll want to read up on PPO and HMO plansnetworks and metal tiers.
  2. Make sure you understand how health insurance works. Choosing a plan will be easier if you know how cost sharing worksthe difference between in-network and out-of-network benefits and what an out-of-pocket maximum is.
  3. Make a list of questions you have. They'll come in handy if you decide to talk to one of our health plan advisors or agents. Even if you shop on your own, they'll remind you to be on the lookout for answers.
  4. Learn about subsidies. You could be eligible for financial assistance, called a subsidy, that lowers the cost of your health plan. When you're shopping for plans, you'll be able to see if you qualify for lower costs
  5. Set your budget. First figure out what you can afford to pay each month for your health plan. Don't forget to take your subsidy into account if you're eligible. But also don't forget to think about what you can afford to pay in deductibles, coinsurance and copays.
  6. Gather basic information about your household income. You'll need it when you're ready to get a quote, apply for a subsidy and enroll in a plan.

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