Which health plan is right for you?

If you’re picking a health plan through a new employer or selecting benefits for the first time now that you are no longer eligible for your parent’s plan, it may be difficult to know where to start. Insurance terms, plan designs and specialty benefit offerings may be a lot to consider. But it’s worth figuring them out.

Why it’s important: Young adults have the highest uninsured rates in the U.S., which can cause delays or difficulties accessing timely and cost-effective medical care, especially in emergencies. Insurance is also important for mental health support — especially because people born between 1997 and 2012, called Generation Z, report higher rates of mental health issues.

While it may be a lot to review at first, taking the time to review your options and figure out what to watch for may help you choose a health plan that fits your needs.

Here are three things to think about when picking your coverage

1. Mental health and engagement programs

Caring for your mental health is a crucial component of your overall well-being. Some health plans offer advocacy services and employee assistance programs to help you find mental health services. They vary from plan to plan, so compare your options for resources like: in-person therapy, virtual behavioral therapy and coaching, self-help apps, substance use cessation.

Also, because caring for your physical health can often help your mental health, some plans also offer consumer engagement programs at no additional cost. There may also be incentives for completing a health survey or for everyday healthy living, such as meeting activity goals or avoiding nicotine.

2. Prescription benefits

You can view a list of medications and see how they’re covered on your plan’s preferred drug list (PDL). If you have ongoing prescriptions, keep an eye on your PDL to stay ahead of any cost changes, which may happen. Also, check to see if you can fill your prescriptions at a network pharmacy or through mail delivery, which may save you money.

3. Virtual services

Virtual care has gone from serving people who are already sick to preventive care and chronic condition management. Some plans now include virtual primary care and specialty services, including dental and hearing care. You may have the option of a plan that eliminates member cost sharing, such as waiving deductibles or copays, for virtual urgent care visits.

After you learn about what’s in your plan options, you’ll want to make sure you know how you’ll pay for care. When it comes to managing costs, one of the first things to consider is your monthly premiums and annual deductible.

Here’s how your premium and deductible options may be presented

  • Low-deductible plan: This coverage may be a good option for you if you plan to use a lot of health care services or if you take several prescription medications. Your monthly premium may be higher, but your deductible and out-of-pocket maximum will likely be lower.
  • Balanced plan: This may be a good option if you want to save a little bit on monthly premiums while keeping down out-of-pocket costs.
  • High-deductible plan: This may be a good option if you don’t plan on needing a lot of health care services and have the means to pay your deductible if an unexpected medical issue arises. You will pay less in premiums, but you will likely have a bigger deductible and higher out-of-pocket costs.

One more thing

For those eligible, you may want to consider UnitedHealthcare’s Surest™ plan, which features benefits that work for you immediately — without a deductible to chip away at and no coinsurance to worry about paying after receiving care. This plan enables people to review cost and coverage information before scheduling medical appointments, one study showed it reduced member out-of-pocket costs by an average of 54%. This upfront pricing also helps avoid billing surprises that, with a traditional health plan, might show up weeks or months after a service or procedure.

Use the quiz below to help guide your decision about a plan.

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