Choosing a health insurance plan can be complicated. Knowing just a few things before you compare plans can make it simpler.
- The 4 “metal” categories: There are 4 categories of health insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These categories show how you and your plan share costs. Plan categories have nothing to do with quality of care.
- Your total costs for health care: You pay a monthly bill to your insurance company (a “premium”), even if you don’t use medical services that month. You pay out-of-pocket costs, including adeductible, when you get care. It’s important to think about both kinds of costs when shopping for a plan.
- Plan and network types — HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO: Some plan types allow you to use almost any doctor or health care facility. Others limit your choices or charge you more if you use providers outside their network.