While the Affordable Care Act made healthcare coverage affordable for more Americans than ever, that doesn’t mean it necessarily made it easier to choose the right coverage or plans. In fact, with a growing number of products available, understanding healthcare coverage may be more challenging than ever. Where once there were just a few insurance companies to choose from, there are now a growing number of companies that all offer different levels of coverage and even types of care. Here are three tips to understanding healthcare in 2022.

 

  1. Levels of coverage does not impact quality of care

 

Many healthcare plans offer different metal tiers such as bronze, silver, gold or platinum level packages. What these refer to is the level of financial distribution between the patient and provider, not the level of care you receive. So, if you are on a bronze or silver package, your monthly premium may be lower but you will also generally pay a higher percentage of the total cost of care. If you are on a higher tier, you will generally pay a higher monthly premium but will be responsible for a smaller percentage of the cost of individual services.

 

  1. Understand your acronyms

 

Most healthcare plans require you to use doctors or specialists that are affiliated in some way with a specific hospital or network but these networks can be expansive or highly restricted. In addition, some plans will only cover your care if you are referred to a specialist outside of their network, while others will allow you to use any provider without a referral but at a higher cost. When choosing the right coverage for you, it is important to understand the difference between an EPO, HMO, PPO or POS plan.

 

  1. Choose a plan for your level of health

 

While healthcare needs can obviously change drastically, if you are young and healthy or have a young and healthy family, you will probably have different health care needs than if you are aging or have someone in your family with a chronic health condition. For healthy people, a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) can help save some money, particularly when paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) for those that do not qualify for an HSA.