Make your changes now
The most important thing you will do is to implement those changes that you have decided to make regarding your health insurance coverage. While the earlier steps are certainly necessary, if you don't actually make the changes then you gain nothing.
Go over your notes to make sure that you understand the changes you wish to make, and especially why you wish to make them. Most importantly, if you are covered by a group policy at work, you will need to find out when the Annual Enrollment period is. This is usually a period of about 4 weeks when employees can make changes to their benefits. Be prepared to make the necessary changes, including how much, if any, to put in your flexible spending accounts (if they are offered by your employer). We have outlined some ways you may be able to save money on your health care
Where can I get health insurance?
You may get health insurance through a group plan at work or through another group affiliation (a school, a club, etc.) or by purchasing an individual plan on your own. Individual insurance generally costs more than group insurance, but you may be able to customize the health plan to meet your needs.
If you don't yet have health insurance coverage, then you need to begin with gathering price information from different sources. We suggest that you first make a list of all the relevant features or provisions that you want. Second, identify the local companies or Internet sites from which you wish to obtain quotes. You might consider making some columns next to your list of requirements so that you can identify whether or not the insurance company offers them, and what the respective costs are. Before you actually contact companies, you might also consider talking to family and friends if they have obtained their own health insurance rather than through their work plan. Once you are ready, begin contacting the local companies, or you can obtain quotes through the Internet. For the latter, you might consider eHealthInsurance or HealthPlanFinders.
If you can afford it, you might also be able to get a high-deductible plan with inexpensive premiums, but of course you have to pay the deductible first. This type of plan works well if you want to use a health savings account to pay your expenses. To get information and prices on high-deductible plans, consult an independent health insurance agent who specializes in your area by contacting the National Association of Health Underwriters, or visit eHealthInsurance.com.
If you are having trouble getting health insurance, or you have further questions, you can read or print individual state consumer guides.
Once you have the cost figures, then you need to examine your budget and determine whether or not you can actually afford it. If not, you may have to make some changes regarding the type or amount of coverage that you are seeking, or you need to make some changes in your budget.
Step 6 - Get Help If You Need It