Even if you are fit as a fiddle right now, you don’t remember your last meeting with any kind of a doctor and accidents seem to avoid you, a good health insurance plan is something that you should reconsider - you never know what can happen, especially if you have a family and other people to care for. Entering the insurance market can be confusing - how to choose? Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, or maybe one of the dozens of private insurers? What should you know to get a plan that will suit you best?

1. Time of the enrollment

You can’t just go out and buy your insurance whenever you want - you have to keep several deadlines. There are federal exchanges you can use for which enrollment is possible from the beginning of November until mid-December, but some states (to be precise, twelve of them plus the District of Columbia) have their own exchanges, very often with different (longer) time for the enrollment, so make sure you know how the process looks like where you live.

2. Be picky

Considering that it’s something that you’ll be paying for and may need in case of an emergency, you have to be absolutely sure that you decide on the right plan. Even if you’re happy with what you currently have, you shouldn’t give up on regular research. Healthcare plans are constantly changing, worsening and improving, and it doesn’t matter if your life situation has changed or not. Sometimes there are new private insurers entering the healthcare marketplace, and it almost always causes the prices to go down - you may find something just as good, but less expensive. It’s worth checking from time to time if you still really have the best possible option.

3. Calculate carefully

A lot of people, while deciding on an insurance plan, tend to focus more on monthly premiums instead of on estimating yearly costs - and that’s a mistake. There are other things to calculate, like the co-payments and the deductible (that is, how much you have to pay from your own pocket for the services before you get a refund), which you shouldn’t forget; otherwise, you may be surprised in the future. Luckily, there are many online tools available that can help you calculate the estimated overall costs of your chosen plan, and they take into considerations all of the possible payments, and your predictions about how much healthcare you may need in the following year.

4. Think about how much do you really need

Of course, it’s not possible to predict how much healthcare you will actually need in the next months; there are accidents and illnesses that come unexpectedly. But you can at least make some assumptions based on your medical history, your family’s medical history or your age - you can pay more monthly just in case something catastrophic happens, but there may be a plan on the market, that will allow you to secure yourself, but will also help you on a daily (or monthly) basis. For example, you can pay a little bit more to stay safe, but find a plan that covers appointments at your favourite doctor or a specialist that you need to see regularly, or some prescription drugs that you take.

5. Be suspicious

Have you found a perfect plan that seems to meet all of your expectations? You better keep reading to make sure it’s an ACA plan (Affordable Care Act plan), which means that it covers all of the essential benefits. Non-ACA plans are very often short-term and have lower monthly premiums, but it’s very likely that, while reading about them, you missed some of their omissions that might have looked unimportant to you at that moment. These plans often may not cover mental healthcare or prenatal care. Don’t sign up for this, even if you currently don’t need any of that - you don’t know the future and if something happens, you’ll be in serious trouble. Too good to be true - bear this saying in mind while looking for your insurance plan.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Though the Trump administration decided to withdraw the funding, free help in the marketplaces still exist. There are trained, impartial people who are willing to navigate your searches and the enrollment process. Sometimes it’s better to rely on professionals, especially in such a complicated issue as choosing your insurance plan. 

There’s certainly a lot to think about before deciding to sign up for any kind of an insurance plan. It’s better to take everything into consideration to minimalize the risk of a really catastrophic situation. Health insurance is not something that you should ever skimp on. If you do it, sooner or later, you will regret your decision. So consider your needs, research your options and ask questions, even if they seem silly to you - better safe than sorry.