Have you started shopping for health insurance? Here is how to figure out which plan is best for you.

Pick your metal tier first

All individual plans have a metal tier in their name, and if you pick your tier in advance you can narrow down the options right away. Bronze and Silver plans have lower monthly premiums, but they have higher deductibles, so you pay more when you need care. Gold and Platinum plans cost more every month, but they have low or $0 deductibles, so the plan pays for more of your care if you get sick. Healthy people tend to choose Bronze or Silver plans to save money every month, while people who need more care during the year usually opt for Gold or Platinum plans to save money on their medical bills.

The best plan for you is the one that limits your costs and manages your risk. The right balance is totally up to you. If you prefer to pay more up front and have no surprises, go Gold or Platinum. If you’re looking for the least expensive premium and understand the risks of potentially having to pay some medical bills during the year, go Bronze or Silver. If you qualify for a cost-sharing reduction, you might see a super-low deductible in the Silver tier, so watch out for that.

Make sure you have access to any doctors & drugs you need

Most plans only cover your care if you go to a doctor or hospital in their network. Look up any of your existing doctors and browse the insurer’s website to find out which hospital systems they work with. Focus on quality and access to any doctors you feel you absolutely must keep (like a psychologist, pediatrician, or someone you’re in the middle of treatment with). Look up any medications you take to make sure they’re covered.

Look for plans with perks

If the plans are similar, the prices are just a few dollars' difference, and the networks cover what you need, look for extra perks like fitness rewards.

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Posted 11:00 AM

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