When you’re shopping for health insurance, you can get cost estimates online very quickly. To compare quotes from several providers at once, look for a reliable website that protects your confidential information when you are requesting an estimate. Although it’s possible to compare quotes from multiple insurance companies in a very short time, you may be required to wait for several days to receive a final quote. In most cases, an application for individual or family health insurance must go to underwriting before your final rate is approved and receive a health coverage ID card.
Underwriting is the process of evaluating the level of risk that an applicant presents to a health insurance company. When an insurer reviews your application, an underwriter will take your age, current health status, past medical conditions, recent medical treatment, occupation and smoking history into account to determine the probability that you will make a claim on your policy. An underwriter may request medical documentation, in some cases, before making a final determination. Until these risks have been determined, you may not receive a final quote.
Comparing Health Insurance Quotes
Requesting multiple health insurance quotes requires basic demographic information about you and your spouse, partner or children. Because health insurance is regulated by state governments, you will be required to enter your zip code or the name of the state or county where you live. You will also be asked to enter your date of birth and gender, and you may be asked to provide information about your smoking status. If you’re adding a spouse and children, you must provide their information, as well. Once you’ve completed the form, you will receive estimates from several providers.
When you receive a list of quotes, you can evaluate the basics of each plan to determine how much your monthly costs or fees for services will be. With most health insurance policies, you must pay a deductible before your benefits will take effect. The higher the deductible, the lower your monthly premiums will generally be. Policies that have a deductible of $3,000 or more may give you the opportunity to open a health savings account, or HSA, a tax advantaged plan that allows you to save money for medically necessary expenses.
As you compare health insurance quotes, check the details and key features of each plan. You should be able to review the cost of an office visit and the coinsurance information, or the percentage of the costs of treatment that you must continue to pay for after you’ve met your deductible. The lower the coinsurance, the lower your out of pocket costs. As you examine the plan details, look for prescription benefits, maternity care and other highlights that may be important to your family.
Understanding Health Insurance Estimates
When you review health insurance estimates, read the fine print to learn about the limitations of an estimate. An estimated cost may change if you have a change in health condition between the time you request an estimate and the time you make a commitment to buy a policy. For instance, if you request an online cost estimate and you are diagnosed with a chronic illness one month later, before you’ve officially completed your request for health insurance coverage, your premiums may be higher and your illness may be considered a pre existing condition.
The underwriting practices of a health insurance provider will also affect your insurance cost estimates. A request for estimates is usually based on very basic information, like your age, gender and smoking status. In underwriting, any pre existing conditions or current health concerns will be taken into consideration to determine what your policy will actually cost.