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How do I know what health coverage to buy?

Think about your needs and ask:
Do you want a plan that covers preventive care like annual check-ups? Most fee-for-service plans don't cover these visits, but managed care plans do. This aspect is particularly important if you have or are planning to have children.

How healthy are you? If you need a low premium and are healthy, consider a high-deductible plan. Understand, though, that accidents happen, and a single hospital stay could wipe out your savings and plunge you into debt. Think about how much money you'd be able to apply to medical expenses if necessary.

Do you have a specific doctor or hospital in mind? Managed care plans use networks of doctors, and if your doctor isn't in that network you'll pay some or all of the bills if you see him or her. If specific providers are necessary, consider a fee-for-service plan.

How important is easy access to specialists? Many managed care plans require a referral from a primary care physician before you see a specialist. If they don't feel it's necessary, you'll pay for the visit out-of-pocket.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.