When you have to buy your own health insurance coverage, there are so many factors that affect your choices it can be difficult to decide. Your existing health, your risks, even your family plans impact your choices, not to mention what you can afford. In fact, you have to consider what you can afford monthly and what you can afford if you develop a medical condition that requires expensive treatment. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you pick your plan.

Know the Basics of Health Insurance

When considering Obama care insurance plans, the first thing to look at is the “metal rating” of different plans. The metal rating shows the division between what the insurance company will pick up and what you’ll be expected to pay. Bronze plans have the lowest benefits, with the insurance company only paying about 60% of your costs.

As the plans progress through silver, gold and platinum, the insurance company picks up more of the cost until you max at about 90% insurance payments with platinum plans. The more the insurance pays, the higher your monthly premium, regardless of whether you use the insurance. Consider how often you use medical care but also how you would handle a catastrophic health event when you are balancing how much coverage you need with how much you will pay each month.

Learn about the different types of plans like HMOs and PPOs. Some plans like EPOs only cover services when you use specific doctors but if you don’t need out-of-network doctors and don’t travel often, that may be a good way to save on your monthly premiums. Other systems, like PPOs, provide coverage outside the physician network, but at a lower percentage than in the network. 

Find Out About the Doctors

The plans through the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” are still offered through traditional insurance companies. If you already have a doctor it’s important to find out what plans she accepts before you sign up for new coverage. If you don’t have a primary care physician already, check out the list of providers the insurance company works with and start doing your research. Call around to a couple of possibilities. See how long it takes to get in to see a doctor and how you like their phone etiquette. Ask your friends, family and neighbors about their recommendations. Check online reviews. 

If you have special medical needs, ask about how referrals work at his office. Also, see how quickly a doctor or nurse practitioner would be able to see you if you were ill. From all this data you should be able to find a doctor that works for you that also works with the plan that works with your budget.

Remember that you can access information on the offered plans. Don’t guess if your medication is covered or what the copay is. You’ll have to enter some personal information to get to these details but that’s because insurance companies have different offerings by region. It’s your health on the line so take the time to find the information that will help you make the best decision.