How to Choose a Family Health Insurance Plan

Written by: Vanessa Jerusalimiec (*Amsive Digital)  |  Reviewed by: Shelley Wyant  |  *MHP partners with Amsive Digital on news content

How to Choose a Family Health Insurance Plan

Are you looking for family health insurance plans in Michigan? Finding the best family health insurance plans for your family may require some research. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right plan for you and your family.

Step 1: Use the Health Insurance Marketplace

There are several ways to shop for health insurance plans for your family. A good place to start is the Health Insurance Marketplace. This federal marketplace makes it easy to view family healthcare plans, compare prices, and find out if you qualify for savings. When you apply for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you’ll provide household information such as family size and income. Based on this information, you may qualify for premium tax credits, coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or other savings.

You can also enroll in a family health insurance plan directly with a plan provider. Contact McLaren Health Plan to find out more about health insurance plans in your area.

Step 2: Choose a Plan Type

As you compare family health insurance plans, you’ll notice several plan types. HMO, PPO, and POS plans are some of the most popular health insurance plans in Michigan. Some plan types encourage you to access care from in-network doctors, while others offer greater flexibility.

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans provide integrated care and foster a collaborative relationship with your primary care provider. These plans offer low monthly premiums and a strong network of care providers. HMOs often focus on preventative care and ongoing wellness. You’ll need a referral to see a specialist, and you’ll have limited coverage for out-of-network care.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans give you and your family more flexibility when accessing healthcare services. While you’re still encouraged to see in-network providers, you will have coverage options for out-of-network providers. Another benefit of a PPO plan is that you don’t need a referral for doctors or specialists.
  • Point of Service (POS) plans combine some of the elements of HMO and PPO plans. Like HMO plans, you’ll work with a primary care provider, and you’ll need referrals to see specialists. But like PPO plans, you can access out-of-network care. POS plans often have lower costs but may come with fewer choices.

Step 3: Compare Plan Benefits and Costs

Once you’ve found the plans available in your area and you’ve selected the type of family plan you want, it’s time to compare plan costs and coverage. Start by evaluating your family’s healthcare needs and spending. Think about all the healthcare services you accessed in the last year and make a list of the services you and your family used. Then check each plan’s summary of benefits.

  • Look for plans that offer coverage options that fit your family’s healthcare needs. Some plans may not include the services you access every year.
  • Compare out-of-pocket costs. This will tell you exactly how much you’ll pay when you access care.
  • Compare the deductibles so you’ll know how much you need to pay before your coverage begins.

You'll also need to consider your primary care physician. Do you have a family doctor your love, or are you willing to switch providers? Most plans offer lower copayments when you access in-network care, so it’s important to find out if your primary care physician is an in-network provider. Make a list of the doctors, specialists, and pharmacies you prefer. Before enrolling in a plan, find out if these providers are in-network or out-of-network, and take a moment to evaluate how that will affect your healthcare costs.

When to Apply for Family Health Insurance Plans

If you want to enroll in a new health insurance plan or switch to a different plan, you can make changes to your coverage during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Open Enrollment starts November 1 and ends January 15. To avoid any coverage gap, complete your enrollment before December 15, and start using your new plan on January 1. You can also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) outside of the OEP. Certain life events, such as losing your employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, moving to a new area, getting married, or having a baby, can qualify you for a SEP.

For more information about health insurance plans in Michigan, contact McLaren Health Plan. We can help you make the right decisions about your healthcare coverage.

Ready to enroll? Start here.