Do you need private health insurance? Perhaps your government or employer-sponsored plan doesn’t provide adequate coverage. Or maybe you recently retired, lost your job, became self employed or graduated from college (and left your parents’ plan). Whatever your situation, there are a number of resources you can use to locate the right type of health insurance for your budget and needs.
A key step to finding health insurance is to research agents that are right in your own backyard. Insurance agents are typically listed in your local phone book, which makes them quite easy to find. For instance, you can peruse the “insurance” category of your traditional printed Yellow Pages and discover a wide variety of providers. The insurance companies will typically be listed alphabetically, and some will have descriptive ads that spell out the type of insurance products they offer. However, most simply list an address and a phone number you can contact for more information. You can also use the white pages of the local telephone book to search for specific agents—if you already know their individual names. Or if your prefer, you can take advantage of yellowpages.ca to conduct a quick online search for insurance providers.
There are myriad Websites with information about health insurance companies. A popular option is Yahoo! Directory Canada. The database displays numerous listings for Canadian insurance brokerages under the Health Insurance Providers section. The listings are arranged alphabetically and offer a brief description of the types of insurance products available. Yahoo! Directory Canada provides quick click access to the providers’ Websites, as well as their contact phone number.
Another extensive online source for health insurance information is InsuranceCanada.ca. This comprehensive site offers a wealth of information, as well as a directory of providers that deliver online health quotes. The directory section of the site features a range of organizations that offer Web-based information and online quoting for some or all of their health and related products. Many of the products can be purchased online or face-to-face through local representatives, depending on your comfort level. The secure Website allows visitors to shop online for employee, individual (personal/family), or student health insurance all from the convenience of home.
Canadian Insurance Directory also features a broad selection of insurance agents and brokers. The site has nearly 9,500 brokers representing nearly every Canadian province and territory.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
When searching for health insurance, it’s important to keep in mind that some agents sell insurance exclusively for one company. Others act as independent brokers who promote a variety of insurance products from various organizations. Whether agents sell insurance for a single company or multiple providers, you can call them to receive a free rate quote over the phone. Or you can opt to visit their office for a personal consultation.
Prior to contacting an agent or broker, you should evaluate your situation and identify your specific health insurance needs. Be prepared to shop around to ensure you obtain the most appropriate health coverage for you and your family. Steer clear of plans that don’t offer insurance coverage, but provide discounts on the cost of health care services. Here are some other factors to consider as you explore different insurance options:
· Make sure you understand exactly what medical services are covered and whether the policy fits your requirements.
· Know your deductible, the amount you are responsible for before insurance begins paying for services. Likewise, determine what amounts you will be required to pay after you meet the deductible.
· Find out if the plan covers health problems you already have.
· Know which doctors are covered in the provider’s network and how much extra you would have to pay to visit physicians that are not included.
Finding the right health insurance can be a daunting task, but capitalizing on local and online resources can make the job much easier.