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Consumer Guide to Health Care

How to Find and Choose Health Insurance

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages.

Think about your (and your family's) health care needs

Answers to these questions might affect what type of health insurance will work best for you.

  • Does anyone have a chronic health condition or other special need for care?

  • How important is it to you to get your care from particular doctors or hospitals?

  • Do you have any children away from home at college?

  • What kind of health care costs might you encounter in the next year?

Understand the important differences between various types of health insurance plans

Differences between health insurance plans can affect:

  • Who will care for you and how much choice you will have in who you see

  • What kind of care will be covered

  • Where you will receive your care

  • When you will receive your care

  • How much you will pay

  • How you will be cared for 

For more help with insurance terms, try this glossary from the Association of Health Insurance Advisors.

Help is available if

  • You can get insurance through your (or your spouse's) employer: Find out about your rights and protections by asking your employer for summaries of your plan. You can learn more by using the U.S. Department of Labor’s interactive Health Benefits Advisor.

  • You own a small business (2 to 50 employees): Specific information to help you find health insurance for you and your employees.

  • Your only option is to buy insurance as an individual: A guide to help you try to find affordable and reliable insurance.

Think about what is important to you

Here are some worksheets to keep track of which plans work for you in the following ways:

Check out health plan quality

Once you find plans that meet your needs, use the guide to health plan quality to see if there are differences in the quality of care the plans provide.

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Last Modified: August 23, 2012