Planning For the Future - Thinking About Health Insurance

When I was in college, I didn't have health insurance. The university provided a free clinic for students so, anytime I was sick, I just went there. One day, I had a sharp pain in my side, went to the hospital, and ended up having appendicitis. No health insurance and a major operation means a lot of money out of pocket. I thought it would be $3,000 or so, but it was over $12,000 when all of the bills came in. I was floored.

Now that I have a family, I realize how important it really is to learn about health insurance and to not only be prepared, but to choose wisely. Here are 5 tools to better assess your families needs for health insurance in an hour or less!

5. Consider Your Children - What are their needs? What are likely situations in which you can find yourself (the doctor, hospital, other health issues)? Do any of them have any special needs? They are, above all, the most important... and, in our family, the most expensive! Without insurance, we'd probably owe over $100,000 in bills with all of Liam's health issues.

4. Be Smart About Your Choice - Remember that you have many choices. Find the right plan for you and you family that covers what you may need. Write down what is most important to you in an insurance plan.

3. Figure Out Your Budget - Take out some paper and write down your salary. Balance out money needs to see what amount you can afford. You may want the most expensive plan, but can you afford it? Is there a way to shift around your budget to make it happen?

2. Compare and Contrast on Paper - If you are like me, you think you can remember everything, but then 2 hours later, you have completely forgotten... or, honestly, 30 minutes later is more like it! Be sure to write everything out so you have it for future reference.

1. Sit Down With Your Partner - This is the most important rule of thumb! Sit down and finalize the decisions together. That way you can figure out what to do and you both play a part in it. After all, two heads are better than one!

You definitely don't want to pick the wrong plan for your family. That's why it's important to pick a company and plan that fits your specific needs. Use the Aetna online resource to assess which plan is appropriate for you! Make decisions wisely and you'll be very happy that you spent some time to figure out what was right.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Aetna blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 Target gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.


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