There are many factors to consider when you choose a health care plan, especially if you are a senior. Insurance protects you, your savings, your income, and your property. It also protects your family and future. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing health insurance as a senior.

Meeting out-of-pocket expenses

The premiums and out-of-pocket expenses you have to pay are always a huge factor when considering a plan. If these premiums are too high, they can compromise your income, especially if you live on a fixed income already. Insurance rates have a tendency to keep rising, while income tends to remain static. Experts advise spending between 5 percent and 20 percent of your income on premiums in a year.

Getting enough coverage

You can’t allow costs to wreck your financial stability; but you also have to make sure you’re getting the coverage you need. Of course this is going to be somewhat subjective. It will depend on your age and particular health condition. Talk with your doctor and your family to evaluate your likely needs and determine what is essential for you to have covered.

Don’t forget to check whether you will have coverage for your medications and what co-pay there could be. Depending on your health and current medication needs, this could be a significant out-of-pocket expense. Even if you are not on a lot of medication now, many people find that the situation can change quickly as they age.

Meeting the enrollment deadline

The Medicare Annual Enrollment period is from October 15 to December 7. During this time you may change your insurance provider for the following year. If you miss this enrollment period, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to get coverage. Make sure you mark this on your calendar and take care of enrollment in plenty of time.

Getting the provider you want

If you have a doctor or other medical professionals that you are comfortable working with, you don’t want to lose that relationship or try to build a new one with a stranger who doesn’t know your unique medical history. When evaluating plans, consider which ones have coverage for the health care providers you most want to work with.

Having a good relationship with the insurance company

It will not be very helpful if you get a “great deal” on an insurance plan only to find that it’s impossible to get help when you really need it. You want to work with a company that has a reputation for paying what they agree to pay and who make it easy for you to file claims.

Getting preventative care

In addition to getting coverage for emergencies, illnesses, or medications, you may also consider whether you will have coverage for regular wellness checks, immunizations, mammograms, and other routine check-ups and preventative medicine.

Understanding all your options

It is important that you understand all your options and the fine print of any insurance plan you choose. Unfortunately, this is not always easy. Insurance companies are vying for a lot of business and tend to offer Medicare options bundled with lots of options for their own extra coverage. The choice can be overwhelming.

Look for a provider who can make things clear, or work with a Medicare advisor who works for you instead of the insurance agent. That way you can get a clear explanation of all the plans available to you plus advice about which ones best fit your needs and price range.

Choosing an insurance plan as a senior can be difficult, but there is help out there to provide some clarity. Don’t forget about the enrollment period, and then ask the right questions to get what you need.