Shopping for Health Insurance

Shopping for Health Insurance

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Shelley Osterloh reporting One fourth of people in the Salt Lake area didn't have health insurance at some point in the last two years.

With the cost of health insurance rising, more and more families are shopping around. Others maybe faced for the first time with having to buy health insurance when they quit a job or get laid off.

It's easier than ever to understand and compare health plans.

Caroline Hickey of Salt Lake found she had to shop for family health insurance when her office closed down.

Caroline Hickey: "We didn't know even how to start because we'd always gotten it through our company."

With two little kids and a husband that travels, the Hickey's needed a plan that covered frequent office visits with their favorite doctor, and out of state coverage.

Joe Hickey: "So the most important thing wasn't so much price as it was the ability to get coverage and health care whereever we go and whatever we do."

Mark Mammele of South Jordan was laid off last year, so he too needed to buy insurance for his healthy family of five. But without a job, he wanted a smaller monthly fee and a larger deductible.

Mark Mammele: "A car accident or something. The kid gets hurt, or major illness, a large out of pocket expense, I want that covered. If a kid falls and breaks his arm, I can pay for that."

Both turned to the computer to shop.

Caroline Hickey: "So I just decided to Google."

Many sites offer health insurance, but both of these families landed on where they typed in their zip code, a little information and saw a list of providers in their area. From there they compared providers and plans.

Caroline Hickey: "The deductibles, the different plans that you need, different coverages. It was really, really simple."

Mark Mammele: "Everything is done over the internet. You get the bill through the internet. I pay them through the internet, through internet banking. So it's very painless, actually."

Insurance companies pay the website a commission if you buy on line, but using the website is free to consumers.

Robert S. Hurley, Vice President/ eHealthInsurance: "If you think you are paying too much for health insurance, you probably are. So absolutely number one, you want to go out and shop for health insuance just like you shop for anything else."

But whether or not you buy, it's a good way to learn about health insurance options because one size doesn't fit all.

Another tip for saving on health care costs is to check into a health savings account --- that's a before tax savings plan that grows tax free, but can be used if you need it for health care expenses.

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