If you are fortunate enough to have employer-provided health insurance, this narrows your options to plans offered by your employer. If you don’t have coverage through your job, an organization or association you belong to may allow you to purchase health insurance through them at a group rate.
Another option is to check your local Obamacare health insurance marketplace to see if you qualify for a premium upfront credit, which will lower your premium costs. Even if you don’t qualify for the credit right away, buying your health insurance through the market means you may qualify for it when you file your tax return for the year.
If you can’t get health insurance or don’t get it from any of these sources, you’ll have to back out of buying a private plan. It will give you the widest range of options, but will likely be much more expensive.
Select the type of policy to purchase
Health insurance policies come in a variety of basic types, although you may not be able to access all of these options through your preferred source. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are a very common type of health insurance policy. With HMO, you are required to use healthcare providers within the policy network, and you have to get a referral from your primary care physician in order to see a specialist.
Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are also very common. The PPO has a network, but you’re not limited to in-network care – although network providers are cheaper to use – and you don’t need referrals to see specialists.
Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs) are a mix between HMOs and PPOs. You are required to stick to the plan’s network, but you don’t need referrals for professionals. Finally, Point of Service (POS) plans are a less popular option which is basically the opposite of the EPO. You are not limited to the POS plan network, but you need a referral to see a specialist.