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Making It in San Diego: Top tips for finding an insurance plan

Posted: 11:44 AM, Nov 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-10 05:11:52Z

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The deadline is approaching for millions of Americans to pick their health insurance providers for their company plans.

Jeri O’Conner is among the San Diegans who made a change for 2019. She’s switching from Covered California to Medicare. O’Conner had plenty of questions about her options.

“This plan will cover this what the deductibles are if there are co-pays cause there are some plans that are zero premiums,” O’Conner said.

She got help from an expert, like Tim Thompson. He helps people navigate through the confusing world of health insurance.

Thompson asks clients these basic questions:

  • Do you have a doctor you want to maintain a relationship with?
  • Do you take any medications? If so, are they generic or brand?
  • Do you know of any upcoming medical events that are going to take place?
  • Does everybody in the family have the same medical needs?

Thompson says if one person has a pre-existing condition or takes regular medication, you might want to look into different types of coverage.

“We can many times split and put one person on a richer benefit plan and the rest of the family on a lower benefit plan,” Thompson says.

There are three brackets to keep in mind, according to Thompson. If you’re a single person making just under $17,000 you can apply for Medi-Cal. Anyone with a salary between $17,000 and $48,000 can qualify for premium assistance through Covered California, he says. Everyone else can apply directly to insurance companies.

Thompson also wants to remind health insurance shoppers to stop thinking a PPO is always a better option than an HMO.

“They believe that with PPO I can go see any doctor I want and that's not true anymore; you can still only see the doctors that are in the network,” says Thompson.

“You can get higher benefits and pay less rather than paying more for very little in the way of benefits.”