Angie's List: Choosing a health plan - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Angie's List: Choosing a health plan

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MADISON (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- Now is the time of year when Wisconsinites are enrolling in health care plans for the coming year, and some are sorting through a variety of health care plans for the first time since it will be required by federal law next year.

"The biggest mistake people generally make when they are buying insurance is not knowing what they are looking for," insurance broker Jacob Gorden said. "People know they need it and know they have to get it, per the new laws, but they don't have an idea of exactly what they are looking for and often when they purchase it they don't understand what they have."
 
Angie's List says the most important thing you can do for your health is to understand what's important to you, what issues you have and ensure you have the doctors, insurance and support you need to take care of those issues.

"Now is the time to start evaluating so you ensure you have the right insurance to get you through the next year," Angie Hicks of Angie's List said.
Take a look at what you spent last year in premiums and out of pocket expenses and compare that to what you expect to spend in 2014.
 
"One of the many things people over look is whether their doctor is going to continue to accept their insurance," Hicks added.  "While you are evaluating insurance have a conversation with your doctor, especially if you're in the midst of a longer term treatment plan to be sure that you are still going to be covered."
 
You may find yourself needing to make a change, like Charlie Klumpp.  When she turned 65, she learned her doctor's practice didn't accept Medicare.  Now she always checks with her physician's office before scheduling an appointment.
"I think that a little up front work can save you a lot of concerns later," Klumpp said. "And it's amazing what you can find out. And of course, once you find somebody really good, please go in and let others know."
Make sure you understand exactly what you plan does and does not cover.  If you don't understand your health care options don't be afraid to ask questions, Angie's List recommends.  Sit down with your benefits person at work or talk with a financial planner or insurance broker.

Angie's List says if you decide to work with an insurance broker who's an independent agent, you'll want to make sure he or she has the necessary credentials and is appropriately licensed. 

Requirements vary in each state, but generally insurance agents must pass an exam to become licensed and certified.
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