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#1. Unless you want 1,000 phone calls, text messages, and emails, DO NOT try and get a quote for insurance yourself. You will be giving your info to a data farm, and they will sell it to as many insurance brokers as possible. Find an agent you trust, Hopefully, like me, and work with them. When you go on their site, even the carriers themselves will turn around and have someone hound you. I DO NOT sell your information and will only contact you with the method and times you decide. You can start right here! In the CHAT!

Health insurance can be thought of as a strategic game where the goal is to protect your health and financial well-being in the most efficient way possible.

2. Why are you looking? I know this might sound like a funny question, but really, only specific options are available at certain times. What's your goal? Better coverage, network, lower out-of-pocket? What's the goal you are trying to accomplish? Did you lose coverage or received notice you are about to lose coverage?

3. What is your honest budget? Honestly, there are plans all over the place. Some Rock Star plans are extremely expensive or horrible plans that are very inexpensive. Having a budget and then finding the best options within that budget is the way to get the most bang for your buck. ​Do you qualify for a tax credit? So the Affordable Care Act has expanded the tax credit availability. If you are eligible, your insurance, based on family size, should not cost more than about 9% a month (Bronze Plan). More people are getting some tax credits. That doesn't mean that it is still not very expensive. So even if your MAGI is 150,000, your insurance shouldn't be more than $1,125 monthly. So a plan that is $2400 would be subsidies to $1,125. Are you confused yet? If someone asks about your income, they are just checking all options.

4. ACA Plans: Basically, ACA plans fall into two categories. You would want an ACA plan if you need a pre-existing condition covered or getting a reasonable subsidy. These plans have many drawbacks as well. You want to make sure you fully understand what plan you are getting and what you need to do to keep that plan.
5. Indemnity Health Insurance: An indemnity plan is a traditional fee-for-service plan that allows you to see any doctor or specialist you want. You'll generally pay a higher premium for this type of plan. One benefit of indemnity plans is that they offer patients more excellent choices and flexibility regarding their healthcare providers. However, there may be better options for some, especially those who want to keep their out-of-pocket costs low or prefer the convenience of a network of providers. It might be an option to enhance another plan.

6. MEC: Minimal Essential Coverage. Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) plans are a type of health insurance plan that meet the minimum coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). MEC plans to provide basic health insurance coverage for preventive care, such as annual check-ups, immunizations, and cancer screenings but does not cover other medical expenses, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, or prescription drugs. These plans are a great option to add if your ACA plan doesn't cover your doctor. Also good to add to another plan to get well visits and co-pays.

7. Health Shares: These have become popular recently due to the carve-out in the Affordable Care Act. Health shares, or healthcare-sharing ministries, are organizations where members pool their financial resources to help cover each other's medical expenses. They are often formed by groups of individuals who share similar religious or ethical beliefs and are not eligible for traditional health insurance. Health shares often have certain restrictions on the types of medical expenses that are eligible for reimbursement and may require members to adhere to certain lifestyle choices or religious beliefs.

8. Short-term Health Insurance: If you can qualify for one of these plans, you should at least get a quote to compare. Short-term health insurance covers a limited period, typically up to 12 months. These plans may be a great option if you are mostly healthy and not needing chronic care. They typically have an extensive PPO network and usually have lower monthly premiums. These plans will not cover prex conditions typically within 5 years. They are considered major medical insurance.

9. Needs of each person: Everyone has their own unique needs. Typically in the past, one policy covered the family for everything. In today's environment, looking at each individual separately might be best to find the best care at the lowest price. Maybe someone needs to be on an expensive ACA plan to cover a pre-existing condition, while the other family members would be better on a short-term plan.

10. New Plans: Carriers constantly work on new products as government regulations change. There are always new plans to consider. An experienced health insurance broker can help in this area. A broker costs nothing and typically gets paid a commission from the carrier. Those costs are built-in and can not be saved by going straight to the insurance carrier. It's always good to have an agent on your team to help with any issues that may arise.

BONUS **** SELF-FUNDED: This new option is available to individuals that are typically only reserved for large corporations or groups. Some of these even have ZERO DEDUCTIBLES, all co-pays for everything. Great networks and level pricing. Groups also can join and receive no participation and no contribution requirements.

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