How to Compare Plans

Asking the Right Questions

In order to find a plan that best meets your needs, you should consider four main components: the monthly premium cost; the range of benefits covered by the plan; the breadth of the health plan's network; and the cost-sharing requirements associated with a plan's benefits. Ask yourself:

  • Is the monthly premium affordable?
  • Does the plan cover my (and my family's) existing and anticipated health needs?
  • Is my primary care provider in the plan's network? If I needed to visit a specialist or a hospital would I be happy with my in-network options? Can I avoid the need to seek out-of-network care?
  • Given the cost-sharing requirements, how much will I owe when I seek care? If I had unexpected medical needs, would I be able to afford my share of the costs?

The following sections will teach you some health insurance basics so that you can better answer these important questions.


Your monthly premium is determined by your age, where you live, and whether you use tobacco. Depending on your family's income, you may qualify for a tax credit to help you pay for coverage. When shopping for or renewing a plan, you should make sure the premium is affordable. If you don't pay your premium on time, you have a grace period before your plan is canceled. If the company cancels your plan, you probably won't be able to enroll in a new plan until the next open enrollment period and you might owe a tax penalty for being uninsured.
Learn more about finding affordable health coverage

Next Section: Comparing Benefits

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Last updated: 10/12/2015