I used to have a very casual attitude towards health insurance. All I wanted was the cheapest plan that I could find, and perhaps a doctor within a two-mile radius of my home. I could afford to have such an attitude because I was in excellent health. I’m not in bad health now, but I’ve had some things happen over the years. I’ve needed operations. I’ve increased my regular number of prescriptions. And I have personally learned more about healthcare, so I can now spot a doctor who is a bit, well, out of touch. My time has also become more valuable. I guess it’s always been valuable, but I work more now, so I just can’t be bothered with long wait times on the phone or in the lobby. These are the types of things that wind up mattering more than you’d expect. Here are questions you should (but probably aren’t) be asking about health insurance plans.
How easy is it to get a referral?
Some insurance companies encourage physicians to withhold referrals until 130 percent necessary. They save money that way. You, however, receive worse healthcare. The best plans let you simply make an appointment with a specialist, without even requiring a referral.