So you are looking for health insurance... Fantastic! It's a good thing you realized how costly a medical emergency can be if you don't have the proper coverage. Now you just need to know what plans you should be looking for and which ones to avoid.
It's sometimes hard to determine what the "best" or "worst" insurance plan is, simply because so much of the process depends upon your personal information. In addition, it's your information that determines what type of benefits you need and how much a plan will cost.
With that being said, I have attempted to put together a list of health insurance plans that are usually good or bad regardless of your personal situation. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but based strictly on benefits and average costs, here are the plans you should buy or beware of in the state of Ohio.
NOTE: This list features plans that are no longer available due to the Affordable Care Act, you might be interested in checking out our updated list here.
The Best of The Best
Anthem Lumenos HSA Plus (With 0% Coinsurance) - You will have a hard time making a case against any health savings account (HSA) plan. But combien Anthem's gigantic network, reasonable out-of-pocket cost and competitive pricing and you can't go wrong with their HSA.
Deductibles Available: $1,500/$3,000, $2,500/$5,000, $3,500/$7,000, $5,500/$11,000
Medical Mutual SuperMed One Wellness HSA - Like Anthem's HSA, Medical Mutual's plan is equally as compelling. The biggest difference you will find here is a few more network limitations than Anthem. However, that shouldn't stop you from crossing this plan off your shortlist. What Medical Mutual lacks in network strength, they make up for in deductible features. One big advantage Medical Mutual's HSA's have over any other company is their split deductibles.
That means, if you have more than one person on your plan and something happens that would max out your deductible, you would only be pay half of the total family amount. If you had the $5,000 family deductible you would only pay $2,500. With Anthem, you would have to pay the full $5,000.
Deductibles Available: $2,500/$,5000, $4,000/$8,000, $5,000/$10,000, $6,000/$12,000
Medical Mutual SuperMed One Elite - This is Medical Mutual's "Cadillac Plan" and offers a more robust benefit package. The elite plan is a traditional copay plan that you are probably very familiar with. This plan offers copays for doctors office visits, prescription medications and much lower deductible options.
Deductibles Available: $500/$1,000, $1,500/$3,000, $2,500/$5,000
Anthem Premier Plus 80% Upgraded RX - This is Anthem's top of the line offering and is almost identical to Medical Mutual's Elite plan. The only difference is this plan has a $500 higher out-of-pocket max. If you are looking for a plan similar to what you had through work, this is a close as it gets.
Deductibles Available: $500/$1,000, $1,000/$2,000, $1,500/$3,000, $2,500/$5,000,
The Not So Good
Assurant One Deductible PPO (HSA) - Assurant's One Deductible PPO isn't a bad plan, in fact there really isn't anything wrong with its benefits. What is wrong with this plan, and Assurant in general, is it's price. You are going to want to avoid this and any other plan from Assurant, simply because they are not very interested in offering plans in Ohio that are affordable.
Deductibles Available: $2,850, $3,750, $5,000
Aetna OH PPO - Aetna is on here for many of the same reasons Assurant is. There isn't as much of problem with the structure of their plans as there is with their pricing. You want to stay away from their OH PPO plan simply because Anthem and Medical Mutual's plans are much cheaper.
Deductibles Available: $1,500, $2,500, $5,000
Medical Mutual SuperMed One Value Plus - While every company has their own version of a "Value" or "Saver" plan, I decided to use Medical Mutual's as the example. The problem with the SuperMed One Value Plus plan is its uncomfortably high out-of-pocket maximum. Value plans were created to try to be everything to everyone. They wanted to have the affordability of a HSA, at the same time offer a limited amount of the upfront benefits "Cadillac Plans" provide. The result, they ended up falling short on both fronts.
Deductibles Available: $2,500/$5,000, $3,500/$7,000, $5,000/$10,000, $7,500/$15,000
Anthem CoreShare - I saved the best for last. Anthem's CoreShare is the worst plan I have seen from a real insurance company (that I'm allowed to talk about, more on that in a second). The coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums are so high on these plans, there is hardly a time when an HSA isn't going to be a better alternative. Not to mention, they have deductibles as high as $50,000. These plans simply leave too much of your money on the table.
Deductibles Available: (50% Coinsurance): $750/$1,500, $1,500/$3,000, $2,500/$5,000, $3,500/$7,000, $5,000/$10,000
Deductibles Available: (0% Coinsurance): $7,500/$15,000, $10,000/$20,000, $15,000/$30,000, $25,000/$50,000
You might notice a rather well-known insurance company not present on either list. That is because that company has issued a "new" social media policy that prevents me from mentioning their name in any way, shape or form on the web. If you know what company I am talking about, you are more than welcome to contact me directly and I will share my opinions on where their plans would fall on this list.
There are a handful of other companies that also do not appear on the list, Summa Care, Humana One and Kaiser Permanente, were all excluded entirely because of price and/or network size.
You will also notice that I didn't included any indemnity plans on this list. The term insurance is used very loosely with indemnity plans. They only provide a fixed, upfront, fee for specific services. Compared to regular plans that offer complete protection after your policy limits are reached. If you can, avoid indemnity plans when possible.
Nine times out of 10 you are probably going to consider a plan from either Anthem or Medical Mutual. They are the only two companies interested in providing plans with decent rates. Of course, in just 10-12 months health insurance will be turned upside down when the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act take place.
The Bottom Line
Your main objective when looking for a quality health insurance plan is to limit your total out-of-pocket cost while maintaining an affordable monthly premium. Those are the two pillars of a solid health insurance plan. If you follow them the next time you need coverage you can't go wrong.
Did I miss a plan you feel should be on either list? If so, which one? What type of health insurance plan do considered to be the best of the best?