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Buying Health Insurance

When you are looking to buy insurance you will need to decide what kind of coverage you need and how much you can afford.

Think about how often you might visit a doctor or need prescription drugs. If you have a chronic condition like diabetes and asthma, you might use your health insurance coverage more often. If you expect you would only visit a doctor for regular checkups, you might want to consider a lower cost plan.

Of course, it is hard to predict how often you might need to use your insurance, but thinking about it can help you decide what kind of coverage you need.

You will need to find out the costs of premiums, copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and the out-of-pocket limit.

Questions to ask

  • How much will I have to pay for:
    • Primary care?
    • Specialists?
    • Mental/behavioral health?
  • What providers are in my network? If you already have a provider, check to see if they are in network.
  • How much will I have to pay for an out-of-network provider?
  • When do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  • How much will prescriptions cost? Check the formulary.
  • What is my yearly deductible?

If you are purchasing an insurance plan through MNsure, Minnesota’s online health insurance marketplace, there are people who can help find the right plan for you.

How Can a Broker or Agent Help?

A broker or agent can help you decide on the right plan at the right price. Brokers and agents can give you advice on a specific plan for you based on your needs. They are paid by the insurance company or companies they represent, and can help you buy a health plan even if you do not choose to enroll through MNsure. 

How Can a Navigator Help?

A navigator can only provide you with application and enrollment help if you buy your coverage through MNsure. They can provide impartial information about the health plans available to you, but they cannot recommend a specific health plan. If you need help deciding on the right plan, they may refer you to a broker or agent.

Most people who can help you buy insurance are ethical and honest. If you do feel pressured or uneasy about your purchase, don’t be afraid to go slow and ask questions. Remember that you are not required to buy health insurance through MNsure or from any specific company.

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