Your guide to buying health insurance. Watch it now.

New to buying health insurance? This video gives you the basic information you need to help you make the right decisions for you and your family. It’s a 15-minute video guide you can watch at your leisure. Just click on the chapters numbered on the bottom navigation to browse through the topics. Or press play to get started.

7 TOP TIPS
When you’re looking at health insurance options, whether on your own or through an insurance agent, you may want to keep this list handy.
1. Prioritize your needs, do your homework.
Remember, you’re buying a policy that is supposed to cover you in case of a devastating medical condition, not a cold. Before you start shopping around, make a list of what you need in a plan. Compare, ask questions, dig deep. Buy from a reputable company. Check out their financial stability on Standard & Poor’s or Moody’s websites. Or go to the website for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at www.naic.org to see if any complaints have been posted.
2. For comprehensive coverage, look for a “major medical” plan.
Comprehensive plans cover doctor visits, specialists, hospitals, tests, drugs and more. This is what most people need. If you need something like hospital coverage only, you can buy a “limited benefit plan.” That’s fine if that’s all you need, but just know, that’s all you will get. Make sure you know what it covers and what it doesn’t.
3. Cost, and “affordability,” is more than just the premium.
Look at the whole picture. There’s the deductible, which will influence the premium. Think about what you’re comfortable paying: a higher annual deductible or a higher monthly premium. Find out your percentage of the coinsurance and the maximum amount of coinsurance you would need to pay. Learn when co-pays are used, particularly for doctor visits and prescriptions. And check if your co-pays and coinsurance count toward the deductible.
4. Look at limits on coverage.
There is no longer a dollar limit of benefits you may receive over your lifetime. But there still is an annual dollar limit on most plans which means you may need to pay for anything above that annual limit. In 2014 this will go away altogether but for now it’s another cost to consider.
5. Ask about more preventive care.
In addition to the important tests, screenings and vaccinations that are covered under in-network preventive care, ask about discounts and other services that contribute to a healthy lifestyle – maybe even a gym membership. Insurance companies know the value of helping you to stay healthy so take advantage of what they offer. It can be, truly, a lifesaver.
6. Be sure your doctor and hospital are in network and your prescriptions are on formulary.
In addition to the important tests, screenings and vaccinations that are covered under in-network preventive care, ask about discounts and other services that contribute to a healthy lifestyle – maybe even a gym membership. Insurance companies know the value of helping you to stay healthy so take advantage of what they offer. It can be, truly, a lifesaver.
7. If it doesn’t spell it out in the policy, buyer beware.
Policies need to tell you what they will cover, not what they don’t cover. So if you don’t see a certain procedure or prescription drug as being covered, chances are it won’t be. It’s tough going but reading the fine print on any policy can save you in the long run.
You can print a PDF version of this summary of call 1-866-296-0680 code: 8563 (TT Y: 1-800-232-7773) with questions.
Check Your
Eligibility.
Before getting started,enter your information to ensure you’re eligible for coverage.
State:
Zip code
DATE OF BIRTH
Check Eligibility
Close x
To qualify for coverage, you must be:
  • Between the ages of 50 and 64¾ (if applying as a couple, both you and your spouse or domestic partner must be under 64¾)
  • Under age 27 for eligible dependent* children
  • A legal resident in a state with products offered by these plans
  • A legal U.S. resident for at least 6 continuous months
  • An AARP member. However, you do not need to be a member to get a quote
*An eligible dependent is defined as an unmarried person age 0 through age 26 (subject to state mandates) and is primarily dependent upon an AARP member for support and maintenance and is one of the following: natural child, stepchild, legally adopted child, child placed for adoption, child for whom legal guardianship has been awarded to the AARP member, or relative of the AARP member by blood or marriage.