1. Brainstorm

Before you sit down to buy health insurance online, you should make a list of everything you need in terms of health care. Consider your life situation. If you are a woman, do you plan on having a baby anytime soon? How often do you visit the doctor? Do you go only when you are sick or do you check in several times a year? Do you have any health conditions that need extra attention?

  1. Prepare to spend wisely

The key here is to think of health insurance as an investment. If you develop a medical problem, you will save a ton of money if you are carrying the right kind of coverage. Of course in a perfect world, everyone would opt to maximize their health coverage plans. In reality, however, few people can afford to max out and get everything on the menu. Additionally you may not need to buy that much coverage, depending on your situation.

  1. Get your paperwork together

Depending on the type of insurance you want to buy, you may need to provide additional information about your health history with your application paperwork. Companies offering comprehensive health insurance plans usually want all the details if you’ve had any surgeries, but they also will request information about conditions like asthma, allergies, diabetes, etc. They may also ask if you are taking any prescription drugs. If you have all your paperwork in front of you before you buy health insurance online, you’ll save time during the application process.

  1. Shop around

Don’t buy into the first plan you stumble across. Compare all the plans and health insurance quotes, be sure to look at the details as well as the bottom line. There are many factors to consider if you decide to buy health insurance online: co-pay, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs can really add up. Keep in mind, though, that a higher premium may be worth it, especially if you are on medication and your prospective plan will pay for all your pills.

  1. Talk to doctors and nurses

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are privy to insider information. If you have a friend in the healthcare industry, be sure to check with him or her first before you decide. If you don’t know any doctors or nurses, try looking one up online and sending an email. There are plenty of friendly medical professionals with blogs out there who would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have for free.

  1. Consider the network

There’s no use signing up for a health care plan if all the hospitals near you are not included in its network. Additionally, if you tend to travel a lot either overseas or inside the country, you may want to see what kind of bills you will face if you develop a health issue while on the road. Costs for out-of-network hospital visits can be astronomical depending on the plan, so be sure to consider rules regarding your health care network before you click “I agree.”