1. Insurance costs a lot but having none costs more.
There are sensible ways to save money on insurance, but skipping
coverage isn't one of them. Medical bills from even a minor car
accident can deplete your savings -- a major illness can push you
2. If your employer offers insurance, grab it.
Group coverage, particularly when it's employer-subsidized, is
almost always a better deal than anything you can get on your own,
even if you're young and healthy. If you're NOT young and healthy,
it's definitely a better deal.
3. Comparing plans is tough but necessary.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as standard coverage.
Benefits and costs vary widely from plan to plan. If you have
choices, you'll have to examine each one closely to find the
4. The lowest premium isn't always the cheapest plan.
What your insurance covers is just as important as, and sometimes
more important than, what you pay up front. Ultimately, the cheapest
plan is the one with the best price for the benefits you're most
likely to use.
5. Even good coverage can have big loopholes.
You can count on your health insurance to cover you for a hospital
stay. Most policies cover doctor visits, but benefits for mental
health, prescription drugs and dental care are strictly optional.
6. You'll pay more for freedom.
Plans with the most comprehensive coverage at the lowest
out-of-pocket cost require you to use a specified network of
hospitals, doctors, labs and other providers. The more flexibility
you demand, the more you'll pay, in either premiums or co-payments.
7. You can check out networks before signing up.
A growing number of public and private sources compile information
on the track records of individual doctors, hospitals and health plans.
8. You can keep your insurance if you lose your job.
State and federal regulations protect you from losing your health
coverage just because you lose your job. Unfortunately, they offer
little protection from high premium costs.
9. Working couples have more to think about.
If you and your spouse both get health insurance at work, you
must sort out whether it makes more sense to have two policies
or for one of you to cover the other. If you have kids, you need
to decide who's going to cover them.
10. Tax breaks can help.
Ordinarily medical expenses, including insurance premiums, are
not tax deductible until they exceed 7.5% of your income. However,
if you're self-employed or your employer offers a flexible spending
account, you can get a tax break without meeting the threshold.
The basic flavors