NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Many previous health insurance plans are getting phased out this year as insurers consolidate their offerings.
If you need to buy new coverage for 2015 that is comparable to your current plan and want to avoid hassles such as choosing new doctors, here are some tips to ensure the conversion is only a minor hiccup.
If being able to see your current physician for checkups is a primary concern, make sure your doctor is in-network when you are shopping for a new plan. If your carrier and plan both change next year, ensure that your preferred physician accepts both your new insurance carrier and your new health plan before enrolling, said Michael Mahoney, senior vice president of consumer marketing for GoHealth, a Chicago-based online health insurance exchange.
Since health insurance companies negotiate lower rates with a specific network of physicians and hospitals to keep costs low, you can also save money on out-of-pocket costs by staying within that network. If you have a PPO plan with a $20 copayment currently, an office visit might only cost you $20 if you visit an in-network doctor. However, if you visit a doctor outside of your network, you may be responsible for the entire bill, which could really hurt your finances, Mahoney said.
“Your portion of the bill depends on your health plan, but the bottom line is that you will pay more if you go out of network,” he added.