Cedars-Sinai Blog

3 Questions Before Selecting Health Insurance

Note: For those who purchase their own health insurance, open enrollment deadlines are on the horizon. The last day to enroll for 2017 coverage is January 31. If you don't enroll by January 31, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2017 unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.*

Selecting the right health insurance plan can be tricky whether you're choosing from a handful of employer-sponsored plans or from the many options available through health insurance marketplaces like Covered California or HealthCare.gov. Start with the three questions below to get started down the path to the right health insurance for you and your family.

What types of care am I most likely to need?

Are my doctors on the plan?

Because insurance company provider lists change, it's best to contact both your insurance company and your doctor’s office to confirm coverage. If there are doctors you want to see but haven’t scheduled with yet, the same two calls make sense. When you call a new provider, in addition to asking which plans the doctor accepts, be sure to ask if the doctor is accepting new patients.

If you're new to town or have a new health concern and need a referral, you may want to check out consumer resources such as U.S. News & World Report or the National Research Corporation's Consumer Choice Awards. You can also call 1-800-CEDARS-1 to find a doctor 7 days a week, 6 am - 9 pm PT.

What coverage am I eligible for?

Your policy choices may be based on how you get your coverage. Is it sponsored by an employer? Are you covered through Medi-Cal or Medicare? Do you buy insurance for yourself via a health insurance marketplace or agent? Try the health insurance options resource on the Cedars-Sinai website to learn more about the Affordable Care Act and to see policy options broken down by how you get your health insurance.

Combine your answers to the above questions with your budget and you're well on your way to selecting a health insurance plan that makes sense for your specific circumstances.

*A special enrollment period is a time outside the open enrollment period when you can sign up for health insurance. It is usually triggered by a major life change (birth, change in marital status, etc.) or loss of other health coverage. Learn more.