Just an hour or two of research can mean the difference in choosing the right coverages and best priced health care plan for your family.

Try these Tips for Choosing a Health Care Plan for Your Family Among the Options Provided to You by Your Employer:

Compare Policies if You’re Covered by Your Workplace

One spouse’s policy can be significantly cheaper than the other person’s when it comes to covering dependents, but the other person may have better coverage. Look over all the information you’re giving by both employers, but also check with the insurance companies themselves you can choose. I’ve had a choice of three insurance companies before. Have a list of questions with you that you’ll ask all potential insurance companies: What is my cost? How much will it cost to insure my spouse and/or children? What is the deductible? What is the procedure for seeing an out-of-network doctor? How much are both PPO and HMO options? Then put the information in one document or on the same sheet of paper, so you can compare options. When possible, I always chose the PPO versus HMO, even if it was a few dollars more because it’s important for me to have a complete choice of doctors and specialists. With HMOs you have less choices for doctors.

Check with Your Doctor About Upcoming Expenses

Your current doctor, family doctor, and dentists can help you estimate how much you’ll spend in the next year on copays and other procedures. Also, consider if your child might need braces or anyone in your family might need eyeglasses. You’ll then be able to budget well for medical expenses, and figure out if the cost difference between high and low deductible plans you’re offered are worth it. The deductible just refers to the annual amount that you’ll pay on your insurance, and your health plan starts covering your expenses. For whatever you know you’ll have to pay out pocket, Health Savings Accounts offered by your employer are a tax-free place to save. So, if you know you’ll have $4,000 in expenses, you can put it in this account and you won’t pay income taxes on it. If your tax rate is 25 percent, it means you’ll save $1,000 versus paying from any other account you have.

Look into Prescriptions by Mail

Especially, when you have a regular prescription, you often get a discount through an online pharmacy. Your insurance carrier will more than likely work with an online pharmacy. You’ll ask your doctor to write prescription for at least a few months, and your doctor’s office will send it to the pharmacy. You’ll still need to use local pharmacies for short-term prescriptions, such an antibiotic for a sinus infection.

Consider Long-Term Career Goals

You may decide to go with one spouse’s health care plan because it has better coverage. But, if they’re not happy in their current position, they may decide to leave the company and go elsewhere. Thus, you want to think about where you’ll be employed six months from now. Have a discussion with your spouse about what the next year in your lives looks like. This should be a part of any financial discussion for annual planning.

No matter what options you choose, ask insurance companies about whether they’ll give you a rebate for health insurance for your gym membership, and check with your employer’s human resources office about programs they have for encouraging you to get and to stay healthy. It’s not unusual to get dollars back for weight loss, or for your employer to have a weight loss program. It never hurts to take steps to improve your health when weighing your health insurance plan options.