Comparing health insurance plans is a very important aspect of the due diligence which should be
undertaken prior to choosing health insurance. In comparing plans close attention should be paid to
the differences and the similarities between the plans, and priorities should be established as to
which variables are most important in the decision-making process. The most common considerations
are costs, benefits, and healthcare flexibility.
Comparing health insurance plans can be best achieved via a health insurance exchange, whether
it is one of the government exchanges, also known as marketplaces, or a private health insurance
exchange. With a few clicks of a mouse and strokes of a keyboard most of the information for
comparing plans before choosing health insurance can be obtained with a minimum expenditure of
time. The process is not only fast and efficient, but is also educational. With the correct entry
of your zip code, age, smoking status, desired plan type and desired plan features it is possible
to obtain instant information including the monthly premium, deductible, copayment, if applicable,
and other details of any plan(s) with a side-by-side comparison of multiple plans.
The monthly premium is only one aspect of the cost of coverage. Depending on the plan chosen,
additional costs include copayments, deductibles and coinsurance which can all be compared between
various plans. In addition to these individual out-of-pocket expenses, the private
health-insurance-exchange platform will also allow you to compare the maximum annual out-of-pocket
expenses between different plans and will indicate whether or not the annual deductible is applied
toward meeting those maximum expenses.
Health-insurance-plan benefits that can be compared include lifetime benefits stated as a dollar
amount or unlimited, out of network coverage, out of country coverage, cost savings for a major,
midsize or minor event compared to not having insurance coverage, preventive care coverage,
emergency and urgent care, prescription drug coverage, inpatient coverage, outpatient coverage,
pediatric services, maternity coverage, mental health coverage, substance abuse treatment, and
additional coverage for things such as chiropractic treatment, skilled care and nursing home
services, home healthcare, durable medical equipment, dental services, vision services and hospice
Healthcare flexibility details which can be compared between plans via the private health
insurancee exchange platform or the government marketplace include the plan type (PPO versus
HMO), if a primary care physician (gatekeeper) must be selected, whether or not specialist
referrals are required, and whether or not authorization is required for accessing out of network
benefits. Additionally, plans can be compared on the basis of their A.M. best rating.
Choosing plans to compare prior to the actual comparison process, can also be efficiently
accomplished with the health-insurance exchange platform by sorting plans based on insurance
company, monthly premium, plan type, deductible, metal level, coinsurance, health savings account
eligibility, and the additional benefits of prescription drug coverage or dental coverage.
If obtaining healthcare from a particular physician(s), at a particular hospital(s), or at a
particular outpatient center(s) is extremely important, the private health-insurance-exchange
platform will enable you to determine whether or not a physician(s), hospital(s), or outpatient
center(s) is a preferred provider, prior to choosing healthcare insurance, if the plan under
consideration is an HMO or PPO network plan.