Given the complexities of the human body, health insurance plans can be complex. Add to this the sheer amount of choice available to those looking for a policy, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Read our five essential tips for choosing the right health insurance plan and you’ll be able to find a policy that matches your requirements and budget.
What to Look For in a Health Insurance Plan
- Learn Health Insurance Scheme Lingo
- Decide on the Coverage You Need
- Consider the Needs of Others
- Be Wary of (Some) Health Insurance Companies
- Consider Yearly Costs Over Monthly Ones
What to Look For in a Health Insurance Plan
To the untrained eye, health insurance plans can seem incredibly complex, and one insurer’s policy may look nothing like that of another. The number of offers out there also tends to grow with the coming of each year, meaning a veritable minefield of choice.
Before you agree on any policy, bear the following five points in mind during your research stage. Knowing what you’re looking for can turn a complicated task into a much easier one. It can steer you towards finding a policy that actually fits your lifestyle and requirements.
1. Learn Health Insurance Scheme Lingo
Knowledge can go a long way when it comes to choosing a health insurance plans. Learning some of the key terms that you’ll likely come across can not only save time in the long run, but it’ll help you find the best policy for your needs. When reading through any insurance document, be sure to have a search engine and WiFi connection close to hand. This will allow you to fully check any terms as you discover them.
You’ll also find different phrases used by different companies. To give you an example, GasanMamo offers three main health insurance plans:
A basic scheme, offering limited worldwide hospital/clinic cover, excluding the US and Canada.
More comprehensive than the basic plan, ‘Key’ cover includes a full-refund for participating Maltese hospitals and clinics, with cover worldwide, excluding the US and Canada.
The most comprehensive plan available, our ‘International’ cover includes a full-refund for participating Maltese hospitals and clinics, plus full worldwide cover, excluding the US and Canada.
If you’re shopping around, you’ll likely find different companies have their own terms for their own respective levels of cover. Keep an open mind when considering deals, and remember to translate any phrases you’re unsure of prior to agreeing an offer. One study found that more than half of people taking out a policy found it difficult to understand both terms and conditions, so if health insurance feels taxing, you’re certainly not alone!
2. Decide on the Coverage You Need
The key to finding the right insurance policy is to establish your own needs. After this, focus should shift to finding an offer to match them. A needs-led approach is the best way of guaranteeing that you won’t be paying for benefits that you’re unlikely to ever use.
When it comes to healthcare, we can’t look into the future and see what condition our body and mind will be in six months’ time. But making a list of your pre-existing medical conditions and any services you could foreseeably need in future is a much better method than picking a policy at random.
Remember also that our required levels of healthcare coverage will change as we age. The older we get, the more likely we are to have dependents, and we become more susceptible to health issues. What feels like a mere niggle today may require a full-blown scan in six months’ time. It is critical that you are realistic about the level of coverage you could need from one year to the next.
3. Consider the Needs of Others
Just as you should try to personalise a private health insurance plan in relation to your own needs, those with dependents should expand this to include the needs of their partners and/or children. Even the healthiest of children are subject to different healthcare risks, depending on their age and the activities they enjoy doing. Make sure you address these risks before agreeing on any policy.
4. Be Wary of (Some) Health Insurance Companies
Like everything in life, the world of health insurance has both good and bad companies operating within it. It should be clear from a company’s website whether it’s legitimate and properly-regulated. Furthermore, look at price points and do a comparison with other companies. In many cases, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Some companies manage to offer cheaper policies, whilst they reduce their levels of coverage. Whatever policy you’re considering, be sure to read the small print for your peace of mind. Good levels of coverage will cost money, so greatly-reduced price points will almost always mean greatly-reduced levels of cover.
Furthermore, double-check whether your insurance company of choice is properly regulated. One US-based firm was recently fined more than half-a-million dollars for operating without a licence.
5. Consider the Bigger Picture
Many people opt for a lower monthly premium payment in favour of a high deductible and/or co-payment. If nothing untoward occurs, this may be financially-beneficial over the course of a year. But should you need to claim, paying a high deductible or co-payment may leave you woefully out of pocket.
When deciding on the most cost-effective plan, consider ALL potential fees before making a decision. More comprehensive cover will naturally come with higher costs. However, these could still work out cheaper across a year than having to pay out for a high deductible.
Choosing the right health insurance plan is sadly not a five-minute job. But a little knowledge, and a needs-led approach, will help you find a cost-effective policy. One that won’t leave you short if you need to make a claim.
Begin your own search for the right plan by looking through our clear and transparent benefits on our health insurance page.
GasanMamo Insurance is authorised under the Insurance Business Act and regulated by the MFSA.