With so many health insurance options available how do you really know what is the best value for the money. Knowing what to look for and how to compare health plans can save you thousands of dollars a year. More importantly you will have coverage with no surprises when it comes for the insurance carrier to pay your medical bills.
For this example I am going to use a family living in San Francisco, with husband 42 years old, spouse 38 years old, son 9 years old and daughter 12 years old. To make a fair comparison we will be using 3 different insurance companies with plans as similar to benefits with each other as possible. This will give us a general idea on which plan is the best value for your dollar. The insurance companies that we are going to be using in this example are Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and Blue Shield of California. As the title suggests we are going to be comparing PPO health plans. The basics of PPO plans are that you have flexibility of which hospital you go to or which doctor you see.
By getting a simple quote from one of the online quoting websites I was able to find three comparable plans from three different insurance companies. Fist is a plan from Anthem Blue Cross called SmartSense 2500 Comprehensive RX for a monthly premium of $ 430, next plan is from Blue Shield of California for a monthly premium of $ 494 and last plan is from Aetna for the monthly premium if $ 516.
Knowing what to look for when comparing health insurance plans makes all the difference. With Anthem Blue Cross it is a 2500 deductible plan, maximum out of pocket is $ 15000 for a family, with $ 30 co-pay for the first 3 doctor office visits and prescriptions drug coverage with $ 15 copay for generics and $ 40 for brand name drugs after $ 500 deductible. With Blue Shield of California it is a 2500 deductible, with $ 30 copay for doctor office visits, maximum out of pocket is $ 15000 just like with Anthem Blue Cross and prescriptions are covered with $ 10 copay for generic drugs, and $ 35 copay for brand name drugs after $ 500 deductible. With Aetna it is a 2500 deductible with $ 50 copay for the first 5 doctor office visits, maximum out of pocket is 1500 just like with previous two plans and prescriptions are covered with $ 20 copay for generic drugs, and brand name drugs are not covered.
In conclusion if you are looking for best plan for your dollar Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California are going to be your very close compactors. Even though Blue Shield of California is more per month it includes some features that Anthem Blue Cross does not. First is that you have unlimited doctor office visits, instead of 3 visits per year with Anthem Blue Cross, plan includes a $ 100 copay to go to emergency before your deductible is met and last thing is your copay for prescription drugs is $ 5 less than Anthem Blue Cross. In this case Aetna is just not competitive enough, copays are too high and for only 5 visits per year. Also this specific plan did not cover brand name prescription drugs and it is highest priced.