Selecting the right insurance company from the many options available isn’t fun. But imagining your life without insurance is even less fun. Insurance can help you get back on track if you lose everything due to an insurable risk.
In Canada, an estimated two thirds of those who file for bankruptcy cite medical problems as the major cause. High healthcare costs can blow up your life savings and ruin you financially.
Although it is tempting to skip health insurance on the chance that you will never get seriously sick or injured, the savings you get by avoiding medical insurance premiums may not be worth the risk of hefty out-of-pocket costs if and when you do get clobbered by big medical expenses.
To make a decision about what insurance to buy, you must do more than compare the quotes of insurance providers and read some online reviews. Doing that much can help you narrow down the list to a few suitable options. But it’s not enough to base a final decision on.
The definitions, terms, conditions, coverage, endorsements, and exclusions of different insurance policies can be confusing. A good insurance company should be easily accessible whenever you need it. Trying to figure out when and how they can help is the last thing you want to be worrying about if you’ve been in a bad accident or gotten seriously ill.
In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to think about when choosing the best health insurance plan for you and your family in Canada.
Choosing a Health Insurance Company
The health insurance market is replete with health care plans that have many different features and costs. But your coverage is only as good as the company backing it.
To avoid surprises, carefully scrutinize any company that you might entrust with the responsibility of covering your health care. Do what you can to ensure that they will be up to the task if your life is ever turned upside down by a medical emergency.
First, check the reputation of the company. Find out what satisfied customers and disgruntled customers say about it. Are there any skeletons in its past that may come back to haunt you? This step will help you eliminate providers that do not necessarily honor their promises.
The right insurance provider offers competitive packages with features that meet your medical needs, provides exceptional customer service, has the financial capacity to settle claims, and is cost-effective.
Check Out Rankings and Reports
A company’s ranking and report indicate how it stacks up against peers in the industry. Several agencies provide independent and unbiased online rankings and consumer reports for different insurance providers.
These rankings are based on information provided by customers. The customer feedback can help you determine whether your preferred company pays out claims promptly and to assess their customer service, among other pertinent attributes.
Companies that settle their claims as quickly as possible and offer reliable round-the-clock customer service rank high in such surveys.
These are the companies you should consider patronizing. However, according to the experts at MoneyWizard.ca, you should not base your decision entirely on the ranking of a company and its consumer report. Before signing a health insurance contract, make sure that the plans that the company offers meet your coverage requirements.
The Reputation of a Company
In a digital age, it is harder for insurance companies to get away with terrible customer service and other damaging allegations. You can learn a lot about an insurer from how they handle disgruntled customers. When nearly every review you come across is negative, it’s a good idea to stay way.
You need a company with a track record of making good on its promises. Too many complaints that it breaks its promises are red flags; don’t ignore them. When you file a claim is the wrong time to learn that a company has a habit of dubiously denying claims.
Also be alert to the possibility that positive online reviews have been requested or sponsored by the provider in order to counter damaging reviews. Visit reputable platforms to learn about a company’s reputation and look for reviews from a variety of websites and social forums. In some cases, news reports about a company can also inform your decision.
Is the Insurance Company Financially Strong?
You purchase health insurance because you might be unable to afford emergency care out of pocket. The last thing you want to hear on while recovering in a hospital is that your insurance card has been declined due to insufficient funds. Your insurance policy should give you peace of mind, not another heart attack.
Confirming the financial health of an insurance company before you purchase a plan may save you from a lot of frustration when you file a claim. You want your health insurance company to have the financial wherewithal to settle your claims today and for many years to come. That’s why many online company ratings include financial information.
Most large insurance companies have decades of experience handling risk and expanding their assets, and they have amassed a lot of wealth. That’s the kind of company you want: financially strong, capable of meeting current and long-term financial obligations.
Deals and Discounts
As you search for the ideal insurance provider, you will realize that health care plans and costs tend to be pretty similar, which can make it even harder to choose the best insurance company for you. But insurance providers often do try to differentiate themselves and attract more customers by offering deals and discounts to attract customers.
Most providers don’t often advertise these deals and discounts, so you may need to ask whether they offer any. Never pay the sticker price if there’s a chance you can pay less. Find out what discounts you qualify for and claim them. You could save a lot of money.
Over 33 million Canadians actively use the internet—when dealing with insurance too.
Today, you can shop for a health insurance plan on the web, fill out an application online, pay premiums electronically, and even file a claim online. A provider that is available digitally offers greater flexibility and convenience.
When choosing an insurance company, therefore, make sure that it can be accessed online. That way, you won’t have to play phone tag or drive to the company’s offices whenever you need help with your policy.
Balancing Cost and Coverage
When choosing an insurance company, cost is a paramount consideration. Premiums vary from one provider to another, and so does the amount of coverage. Finding a good balance between cost and coverage is critical.
Know what you’ll be paying for the plan and how much coverage you will get for the premiums you pay; what you pay should be commensurate with the amount of coverage. Also look at copays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums.
Plans that charge higher monthly premiums typically charge lower out-of-pocket costs, while plans that that charge lower monthly premiums typically charge higher out-of-pocket costs. Whether you should pay higher or lower premiums depends on what you can afford.
Ways to Buy Insurance
How you buy your insurance policy will affect coverage options, costs, and discounts. Here are some of the possibilities.
· Direct from the company.
If you already know which company you want to buy your health insurance from, your problem is half-solved. Get in touch with the company’s captive agent—that is, an agent working exclusively for one insurance carrier.
The captive agent will help you compare the company’s health plans and choose the best policy for you given your medical needs. The downside to buying directly from the company is that the options are limited to its own products. You could miss out on other great offers.
· Through an outside broker or agent.
Outside brokers or agents represent different insurance providers, so they can give you more options to choose from. Such agents can help you compare plans from different carriers and find a plan that suits your needs.
· Through an insurance aggregator.
Unlike captive agents and outside brokers, insurance aggregators don’t sell insurance products; they request quotes from providers on behalf of prospective buyers. Since insurance aggregators don’t have a vested interest in specific providers, the advice they give you may be more objective. Once you make a choice based on the information that the aggregator provides, you will be transferred to the company or to an agent who can help you complete the purchase.
With dozens of factors to consider, shopping for the right insurance can be overwhelming if you try to do everything yourself. Consider enlisting the services of a professional. MoneyWizard.ca can help you find the exact information you need and offer objective recommendations based on your region, financial ability, and coverage requirements.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about health insurance. We are glad to help.