OK so you know where to get insurance, but you still don't totally know what it is. That's fair. Here are some terms you should get to know:
* Premium: This is the monthly cost of your health insurance plan. It might come out of your paycheck if you get insurance through your job.
* Copay: This is the flat rate you're charged for doctors visits and prescriptions. It can vary for different services (for instance, a $20 copay to see your primary care doctor, $50 copay for a specialist, and a range of copays for prescriptions).
* Deductible: This is the amount you have to pay for health services before your insurance plan starts to pay. So if you have a $1,000 deductible, that first $1,000 is on you. This doesn't apply to your monthly premiums or free preventive services, and it may not apply to copays. But let's say you need to have some tests or X-rays done — that would count towards your deductible.
* Coinsurance: This is the percentage of costs you have to pay after you've met your deductible. So let's say you need a medical procedure that costs $2,000. If you already met your deductible, you would only have to pay the coinsurance for that. So if your coinsurance is 20%, you'd only have to pay $400 for that $2,000 procedure.
* Out-of-pocket maximum: This is the most you would have to pay for health insurance in a given year, not including monthly premiums or any services your plan doesn't cover. So once you hit your deductible and you start paying just the coinsurance on everything else, your insurance covers everything once you hit that out-of-pocket maximum.
* PPO: This is a Preferred Provider Organization, or a type of health insurance plan that has a broad list of participating providers and hospitals, so you're charged less if you see those in-network doctors. You can also use out-of-network doctors at a higher cost.
* HMO: This is a Health Maintenance Organization, or a type of a health insurance plan that limits coverage to in-network doctors and hospitals that work with them. They typically won't cover out-of-network care unless it's an emergency.
* Health Savings Account (HSA): This is a savings account specifically for medical expenses, so you can set aside pre-tax money to pay for upcoming healthcare costs if you're in a high-deductible plan.
Again, this isn't an exhaustive list, but you can find more healthcare terms here.