If you’re not one of those extremely lucky people who have managed to nail down a stable, full-time job with an abundance of benefits, you’ve probably struggled with how to insure yourself. Once you turn 26, or are no longer a full-time student, you’re dropped from your parent’s insurance and left to figure it out for yourself.
If you’ve never thought twice about copays or deductibles, you probably spend most of your time Googling answers to your questions. These are the questions that every one who knows nothing about health insurance asks themselves:
Where do I start?
Maybe you Google ‘where to get health insurance’ or you call State Farm because they insure your car and ask if they can also insure your health. The easiest thing to do is log on to the government website. They walk you through everything.
It costs that much?
Yes, it really does cost that much. Initially, when you type in your zip code, the website gives you a list of available plans with monthly premiums. These are alarmingly high. Don’t panic yet. Once you type in your financial information, you may qualify for lower rates. The listed options are just ballpark numbers.
What’s a deductible?
In short, a deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket for hospital visits before your insurance covers anything. So you want this number to be low. If the deductible is $3,000, that’s the amount of money you have to pay before your insurance starts shelling out some dough. Unfortunately, this is on top of your monthly payments. Check with your provider to see what is covered without having to pay your deductible.
What’s a copay?
A copay is a fixed amount of money you pay for certain medical services. Some plans will require a $20 copay for routine check-ups where as others require you to pay the full amount until you reach your deductible. Each plan is different.
Do I really need health insurance?
Once you learn all the ins and outs of health insurance, you debate whether or not you actually need it. Do I need to drain my bank account every month? What if I’m healthy and don’t even use it—that’s a waste. Unfortunately, you do need health insurance. If you fail to enroll, you will be charged up to $1,000 at tax time.