Known worldwide for its colorful jazz music and Mardi Gras festivities, Louisiana truly has something for everyone to enjoy. When it comes to finding the best health insurance, we’ve done the heavy lifting to help you find the best deal for your healthcare needs and budget.
The Best Health Insurance in Lousiana:
- Best Overall in Lousiana: Vantage Health
- Most Affordable: Humana
- Best for Claims: Aetna
- Best Customer Service: CHRISTUS/ US Family Health Plan
- Best for Custom Coverage: UnitedHealthcare
What is Health Insurance?
There are several ways to go about securing health insurance for yourself and your family. If you’re curious about how to get health insurance, you have several choices. Depending on your job, you may be able to get coverage through your workplace. You may also decide to purchase health insurance through a state exchange or independently from a private health insurance company. No matter which option you choose, it’s best to be insured — a serious illness or injury could cost you thousands of dollars in hospital bills.
Understanding what you’re responsible for and how much insurance covers is part of the hunt for affordable health insurance in Louisiana. You may come across terms that explain your costs and coverage, and it’s a good idea to become familiar with them so that you can determine what the insurance covers and what is your responsibility.
A few of the most common terms you’re likely to see as you research different policies include:
- Premium: The monthly fee paid to the insurance company to keep your policy active.
- Deductible: The money that is paid out of your pocket before the insurance begins to pay. It is often tied to your premium: low premiums come with higher deductibles and vice versa. The amount you should choose for your deductible will depend on how often you plan to use the insurance coverage. If you’re relatively healthy, you may opt for a high deductible plan so that you’ll pay lower premiums each month. But if you expect to visit the doctor or hospital often, it may be worth having a lower deductible plan, although you’ll pay more in premiums.
- Copay: This is a small fee, usually anywhere from $10–$45 that you pay your doctor or specialist when you see them. It does not count toward your deductible.
- Coinsurance: This is a percentage that’s shared between you and the insurance company. Common coinsurance amounts include 80/20 or 70/30, where the insurance is responsible for the first number (80% or 70%) and you’re responsible for the second (20% or 30%) for any covered treatment or expense.
Average Cost of Health Insurance in Louisiana
On average, individuals in Louisiana pay approximately $450 per month for their health insurance coverage. And although few discounts are available, there are some things that you can do to lower the amount you pay for health insurance.
- Lower your body mass index (BMI): A high BMI can lead to chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol, among others. Eating right and exercising can help to naturally lower your BMI over time.
- Give up tobacco: Tobacco users pay more for insurance than their non-tobacco using counterparts. Around 17% of people in Louisiana are smokers. In addition, tobacco can cause cancer and other diseases of the mouth, throat and lungs.
- Age: Older people generally have more health problems, and as a result, pay more for health insurance than someone in their 20s or 30s.
Types of Health Coverage
There are many kinds of health insurance available in Louisiana. You’ll need to carefully consider the pros and cons of each one in order to choose the plan that’s right for you — the right balance of coverage and cost for your needs.
- Health maintenance organization (HMO): HMOs provide affordable healthcare costs through predetermined networks of physicians, hospitals and specialists. Through these networks, they aim to provide a consistent level of quality care at a lower cost that all participants have agreed to. Costs and treatment are managed by relying on a primary care physician (PCP). To see a specialist, you’ll need a referral from your PCP. Both the specialist and the PCP need to be in the HMO network to have the majority of the costs covered. If you go outside of the HMO network, you’ll likely be responsible for the full amount of the treatment.
- Preferred provider organization (PPO): PPOs are similar to HMOs in that there’s a network of participating providers, however, you can still go outside of the network to get treatment — you’ll just pay more for it. You don’t need a referral to see a specialist, and if you go outside of the PPO network for treatment, you’ll have to file a claim with the PPO to be reimbursed for some of the costs. You’ll save the most money if you stay within the PPO network of providers.
- Point of service (POS) plan: With a POS plan, you pay for the service upfront and in full and then contact your insurance company to be reimbursed. There are more steps involved and thus more paperwork than with HMO and PPO plans, but with a POS plan, you get the largest degree of freedom to see the doctor and visit the hospital you want. There’s no referrals needed to see a specialist.
What Does Health Insurance Cover?
Health insurance covers some or all of a wide range of medical and treatment costs. These may include:
- Ambulance services
- Wellness checks
- Pediatric care
- Emergency services
- Newborn and maternity care
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative services
- Laboratory services
- Mental health care
What Does Health Insurance Not Cover?
Although it seems like the list above covers every possible health condition and illness, there are some things that health insurance generally doesn’t cover, including:
- Elective or cosmetic procedures
- Long-term nursing home care
- Infertility treatments
- Alternative therapies
- Dental, vision and hearing
Depending on the insurance plan you select, you may be able to have dental and vision coverage added for an additional fee. These are known as “riders” and are like add-ons for your insurance policy.
Best Health Insurance Providers in Louisiana
We’ve researched the options available for health insurance in Louisiana and compared a variety of plans to present the top health insurance companies that offer a wide range of policies throughout Louisiana.
1. Vantage Health Plan, Inc.
Offering both HMO and POS plans, Vantage Health Plan is rated as one of the top health insurance providers in Louisiana by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), which independently rates and reviews private insurance companies throughout the U.S.
The company garners high ratings from its users for quality care and the ability to get care quickly. Users also rate the quality of care they receive very highly, and Vantage gets top marks for properly coordinating care for its members on both its HMO and POS plans. Both short term insurance plans and marketplace plans are available from Vantage.
As a nationally known health insurance company, Humana is well known for its customizable health plan choices. In Louisiana, Humana offers both an HMO plan and a POS plan, and dental and vision coverage are also optionally available.
Through Humana’s website, you can search its extensive network of doctors and hospitals in Louisiana, as well as compare prices and coverage of prescription drugs, making it easy to understand how much you’ll pay for the medications you’ll take.
As one of the largest national health insurance companies, Aetna provides a variety of plans to fit nearly every need and budget. Aetna offers PPO plans in Louisiana and gets particularly high marks for the availability and rapid response of physicians and hospitals.
Aetna’s large network of providers also makes it easy for participating members to enjoy high quality care from both their primary care doctor, specialists and other healthcare providers. Because of its long history in the health insurance industry, Aetna excels at coordinating care between patient and provider.
4. CHRISTUS Health / US Family Health Plan
Like other health insurance companies in Louisiana, the US Family Health Plan is rated very well in quality and responsive care. Asthma control is also rated highly with this plan, as is ongoing coordination for patients with diabetes and heart disease.
There is a wide range of plans available for military individuals and families, and you can get a free quote online to see approximately what you’d pay for plans and coverage types.
UnitedHealthcare is known nationwide as one of the largest health insurance providers in the country. One of the more unique features from UnitedHealthcare is that you can bundle your health insurance plans to save more.
If you’d like to bundle vision and dental insurance with your health insurance, for example, UnitedHealthcare offers you that option. You can also get a free quote online and find out how much you’d save by choosing a bundle over getting each type of coverage independently.
Finding the Best Health Insurance in the Pelican State
To get health insurance pricing that’s tailored to your specific needs and budget, it’s a good idea to get free quotes from each of the providers profiled here. Not only will you have a clearer idea of your specific costs, but you’ll be able to decide which health insurance company is the most affordable and offers the best coverage according to the doctors and hospitals you want to use.