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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Health Insurance Checklist: When You're Ready to Buy

Be ready to fill out the application on the day you enroll. It doesn't matter where you do it -- at work, on your state's Marketplace, or with an insurance broker. Use this checklist to remind you of what to do before you decide on your insurance.

  • Use the steps in "Meet the Deadlines for Getting Health Insurance." With them, you'll pare down your choices to only ones that fit your budget, cover most of the medicines you use, and whose network includes the most important providers to you.
  • Have Social Security numbers for everyone you want on your insurance policy.
  • Have the gross salary for your family, or just yourself, if you're not covering anyone else.
  • Have the list of providers you want ready. That way you can check each plan's network for them. Make note of the copays for in-network providers and for those not in-network.
  • Have the list of medicines your family needs. Use it to check the drug formulary for any plan you're considering. Make note how much the copay will be for each prescription.
  • Look at the summary of benefits for any health plan you're considering if you haven't done it yet.
  • Review the details in each plan's essential benefits. Look for services you need, such as infertility treatment or gastric bypass, since not all states will include the same items.
  • If you're using your state's Marketplace, use its subsidy calculator or its insurance cost calculator. From it, you'll find out how much financial help you can put toward your premium costs. This may lower your costs each month.
  • If you're using your state's Marketplace, have the information you need to have insurance payments sent directly from your bank account. States may also take credit cards or checks.

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