Shopping and comparing health insurance plans can be a very confusing thing to do.There are so many different variables to each plan that it can feel like comparing apples to oranges. Here are a few things to focus on when comparing policies to help narrow down your selection.

1. The Network

Many people look at the type of coverage they will get with health insurance, but not the network of doctors that you can go to. You may have a particular doctor that you like going to and have a good relationship with, and do not want to give it up when switching insurance providers.

That is why it is so important to look at the network of doctors and hospitals that you can go to. Look up each doctor that you want to keep and see if they are in the network, and eliminate those plans with a network that is too narrow.

2. Out-of-State Coverage

You may be set for your coverage in your home state, but make sure that you have coverage when going out of state as well. For example, if you do a lot of traveling to visit family, it's important to know that you can visit the doctor around frequently visited cities. You do not want to be stuck with no place to go within your network. You may also get into a car accident on these trips, and want to make sure that there are hospitals along the way that you can be taken to in an emergency.

3. Out-of-Pocket Costs

One part of a policy you must do research on is your out of pocket costs. Some plans have a high deductible, and will not pay for anything until the deductible is met. Other plans have deductibles, but you only pay a percentage of the cost of the visit to the doctor until your deductible has been met, then you have full coverage.

Make sure you fully understand your costs of all major visits. You don't want to get caught off guard by discovering that your doctor visit is covered under a normal co-pay, but you must pay for all lab work until a deductible is met. This may discourage you from using your insurance and going to a doctor.

If you are unsure of what you should be looking at when comparing policies, speak to your local health insurance services for assistance. They can give you an overview of how their recommended plan is different from the rest.