Skip To Content
Blog
Search

How to pick the right health insurance for your family

Whether you’re new to picking a plan, or new to having a family, these are the things you may want to consider when it comes to health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, all American adults were required to have health insurance, or face paying a fine. Congress eliminated that component of the law last year, but it’s still a good idea to make sure you and your family are covered. Whether you’re new to picking a plan, or new to having a family (well done, and we promise you’ll get to sleep again eventually), these are the things you should consider.

Health insurance through your employer

Generally speaking, this is where to start—your employer has greater leverage when negotiating with an insurance company than you’ll have on the open market, so you’re most likely to get better coverage and/or lower premiums through your employer than you would otherwise. (This isn’t always the case, but it’s still the smartest place to begin.) Even high-deductible plans might be made more affordable if your employer offers to contribute money to a health savings account (HSA). And while it’s a small thing, it’s worth pointing out that if you’re the kind of person who gets overwhelmed when making this kind of decision, going through your employer also helps narrow down the types of plans you’ll have to consider. Just note: You’ll want to pay extra attention to when you can enroll, and when you’ll have the opportunity to adjust your plans, so you don’t miss out on coverage

If your employer doesn’t offer health insurance, or if you’re a contractor, or if you don’t like your employer’s plans, or if for any other reason employer-provided health insurance isn’t an option, you’ll need to see what’s available on the open market. Start by going to healthcare.gov and entering your zip code to see what’s out there on the federal marketplace, or in your state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace (where applicable). Just be aware that if you are declining your employer’s coverage options, you are most likely ineligible for any subsidies on your plan.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

Calculate your needs

Determine your expected health care needs

When looking at the available plans, ask yourself: What’s covered? What isn’t (if anything)?

What about dental or eye exams? FYI: The ADA recommends that children visit the dentist within six months of getting their first tooth, or at age 1, whichever comes first. And, the AOA recommends having your kids’ first eye exam between ages 3 and 5.

What about any prescriptions you and your family might have? Only you know your family’s health requirements—though you could also consider talking with your family doctor.

Speak with your family doctor

Another reason you should consult with your family doctor is to find out what types of insurance he or she accepts, and what networks he or she is in. Depending on what kind of care you regularly need, and how you feel about your doctor, this might be a more critical factor for some families than others. And as many parents will tell you, kids have a way of bonding with certain doctors, and that bond is not easy to replace.

Frame up potential costs with your budget

Simply put, you’ll want to measure your possible premiums against your possible deductibles and co-pays. While it’s practically futile to predict your family’s health—that’s why you need insurance—you can make a reasonable estimate based on your past and recent experiences. In short, you should aim for the lowest possible deductibles, without paying more than you can afford on your plan. (Oftentimes, more expensive plans come with lower deductibles and vice versa.)

Finding that elusive balance will depend on your overall health, what you can afford, and what plans are available. One useful exercise is calculating the minimum guaranteed expense of each plan, and then weighing that against the maximum possible expense (with or without a big-ticket event like a hospital stay). The results of this exercise may surprise you, and it should only take a few minutes to do it. It’s worth your while and your budget will thank you.

Life insurance is more affordable than you think

Get your free quote

Consider a dual health insurance plan

If you and your spouse both have access to insurance through your employers, you can get what’s known as a dual health insurance plan. This is when both spouses get coverage from both employers. Why would you do this? Basically, to cover your bases, and to get as much insurance coverage as possible. Typically, the oldest ongoing plan becomes the “primary” plan, and the younger ongoing plan becomes the “secondary” plan. If you incur a medical expense that’s considered covered under both plans, and the primary plan will cover 50% of the expense, and the secondary plan will cover 20% of the remainder. Another advantage is that if one of you becomes unemployed, you will still have health coverage through your spouse.

Again, the above rules are about balancing what you can afford with what you need still apply.

Choosing health insurance can seem daunting — especially when you have young kids–, but the important thing to remember is that once you break it down into a few key questions, it’s actually a lot easier to pick a plan than you think. Whatever you do, don’t put it off or skip coverage altogether, or you’ll possibly wind up paying more in bills than you would’ve on coverage.

Easy + Simple + Inexpensive

“The easiest, simplest process for receiving term life insurance. And the premiums were the lowest quote.” —Michael

Learn more
Average rating as of March 2018: 9.4/10
Read more at TrustPilot

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children. Opinions expressed by the author are their own, and do not necessarily represent the views of Haven Life.

Avatar

About Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

You might also like

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

What our customers are saying

Sign up for our newsletter

Get our most-read stories, twice a month

Thanks for signing up. See you in your inbox soon.

!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->