Grace Savvy Tips for Switching Individual Health Plans

When your current individual health plan no longer works for your specific needs, you need to shop around to find another affordable medical insurance policy that works for you. This can be an intimidating process, since most individual health plans are highly complex and sometimes confusing to understand.

When you are getting ready to make the big switch, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Who is Your Doctor?

If you have a satisfactory relationship with your current provider, you want to find another individual health plan that includes this doctor in their network. Otherwise, you will have to pay additional money to see the physician of your choice or switch providers altogether.

If you decide to switch to a provider included on your new individual health plan, make sure you have this information in hand before heading to your new doctor:

• The current provider's name, address and credentials
• A list of all the medications you are currently taking
• The date of your last doctor's visit
• Any medical conditions you have been diagnosed with
• Your complete medical history

Your medical history and current conditions should also be in the medical records that accompany you from one provider to the next. However, it is a good idea to have this information for your own records as well, in case something happens in the transmission.

How Much do You Spend?

If you already have affordable health insurance, you probably have a general idea of how much you spend on premiums, medications and doctor visits every year. To be sure you get the best deal on your new individual health plan, consider the following:

• Your current premium payments
• The medications you and your dependents are currently taking
• The number of doctors visits you typically schedule annually
• Your tendency for unplanned doctors visits for illness or accidents
• Any chronic medical conditions in your family
• Need for dental and vision coverage
• How much you can afford to spend out of pocket every year

With this information, it will be much easier to find an affordable health plan that gives you all the coverage you and your family need each year.

What are Your Pre-Existing Conditions?

Pre-existing conditions can be a major hurdle when switching individual health plans. While affordable health insurance from your employer does not evaluate your pre-existing conditions, if you purchase an individual health plan on your own, you may find that your current condition isn't covered by your new insurance policy.

The good news is that the Affordable Care Act that was signed into law this year prohibits individual health plans from withholding coverage or affordable health insurance from children with pre-existing conditions. By 2014, that benefit will extend to adults as well.

Switching individual health plans can be a complex endeavor, but it's far from impossible. These tips will help you find affordable health insurance that is a good fit for you and your family.

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