How to Buy Health Insurance
Choosing a health insurance company—and an insurance plan—can be confusing. But when you know a few key facts, the decisions are a lot easier.
Choosing a health insurance plan
Take time to think about the past year.
- How often did you or your family visit doctors?
- Did anyone go to the emergency room, or to an urgent care clinic?
- Did you meet your deductible? Is your doctor in-network?
There are no "right" or "wrong" answers. These questions will help you decide which insurance plan is best for you.
Benefits and discounts
Sure, you want good coverage with your plan, but a good insurance company can offer even more. Are these benefits important to you?
- Seeing your doctors with no referrals
- Provider networks developed with quality and savings in mind
- Preventive care and screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies
- Online and mobile access to your claims history and a health library
- 24/7 health information line
Many health insurance plans provide coverage for prescription drugs. But that coverage can vary, depending on a few factors.
- Cigna provides a mail-order medication service. Your medications are delivered to your home. Some customers see savings—especially with 90-day supplies.
- Cigna's plans provide coverage for a long list of both brand-name and generic medications, You may save money by switching to generics ($4 vs. $60 for a 30-day supply, in some cases).
Tax advantages in health insurance
For some people, a policy with tax benefits is attractive. Health insurance plans that are qualified for a Health Savings Account allow you to set aside tax-deferred money toward future qualified medical expenses.
That money can go into a bank account or investment account—it's your choice. If you don't use the money, you can roll it toward next year's expenses. Or, you can keep saving toward retirement. It’s a tax shelter that many people prefer—and that works especially well if you're healthy.
Crunching the numbers when buying health insurance
Premiums, copays, deductibles, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums: What does it all mean? Let's break it down with an example:
Let's say you need surgery—and you need it urgently. This is an emergency. And if it's a complex procedure, you may require a long hospital stay and follow-up care because of potential complications. All these factors can add up to a huge price tag.
Just one surgery could cost over $300,000, when all the bills are added up!
That high-cost procedure could leave someone with tremendous debt. However, with health insurance, your out-of-pocket expenses are limited. How?
For example, if you have a Cigna plan with a $3,000 annual in-network deductible, 80/20 coinsurance for inpatient services, and a $6,350 annual out-of-pocket maximum:
- You pay the first $3,000 to meet your annual deductible.
- That's when coinsurance applies–with Cigna paying 80% of the contracted amount and you paying 20%.
- However, because the plan has a $6,350 annual out-of pocket maximum, you've got an early cap on your expenses.
In this example, the most you will pay in one year for that complicated surgery is $6,350 – a fraction of the cost of the surgery and hospital care and recovery for such an event.
That's how health insurance works. You pay a monthly premium just as you do with car insurance. Depending on your plan, you may pay a deductible when you have a medical expense just as you do with car insurance when you have a claim. With health insurance, you may also pay a percent of the remaining covered expenses. And with the out-of-pocket maximum, your portion is capped.
When you have questions about health insurance, who can answer them? That's the benefit of a good customer service team. When you choose a health insurance company, make sure they have representatives who are patient with you, get to know the real you and provide answers that you need, in a language you understand.
A licensed Cigna insurance agent can provide the information you are looking for. You can get answers to your questions. They will crunch the numbers. They can help you decide which health insurance plan is best for you.
Do you speak Spanish? Cigna has Spanish-speaking insurance agents. Use an interpreter? Cigna also has agents who will work with your interpreter.
You can view available plans in your state whether they’re on the Health Insurance Marketplace or not—on Cigna.com. Sign up during the Open Enrollment Period. Outside of Open Enrollment, you may be eligible to purchase insurance if you have a qualifying life event. Learn more about enrollment options.
For a full list of exclusions and limitations, view State Policy Disclosures, Exclusions and Limitations. For a full list of exclusions and limitations, review the Summary of Benefits for the plan you are interested in, which is located under Plan Documents.
You can also call a licensed Cigna insurance agent at 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday.
At Cigna, our goal is to provide the information you need to help you make an informed decision.
If you are an Arizona resident interested in an individual HMO plan, please call 1.877.484.5967 for further details.
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