When searching for affordable health plans, many have the same goal – find a plan that best fits your needs at a price you can afford.

While this sounds like an easy task, it can be more difficult at times, especially without the help of an insurance agent.

The Healthcare Marketplace offers many options, but a dedicated insurance agent can help by listening to your needs and shopping for costs that fit you budget. So as a consumer, there are a few items you must keep in mind when selecting a plan.

Understand your family dynamic
Single? Married? Or do you have kids?

These are important questions to ask on the front end and will dictate how much your plan costs.

In many scenarios, there are family members who may receive insurance through a work plan, while the other may pay for it individually. Also, there are families who may have a child in their 20’s on their insurance plan.

Looking forward to the future and staying a step ahead is key.

Know your budget
Knowing what you can afford is crucial no matter what you are buying. With health insurance plans, having a ballpark number in mind on what you can spend each month is ideal.

Like a car payment, paying for an insurance premium each month can be one of your larger payments, outside or a mortgage payment. So that makes finding the right insurance plan even more important. But paying for insurance will pay dividends in the long run and add a layer of protection in case of a health event.

Do your research
When contacting a health insurance agency, it is important to do your research and look at all options and compare plans. At times, going with the cheapest option may not be the best fit.

You should understand what you will receive among different plans. At times, a cheaper plan may pay less medical costs compared to a plan with a higher premium.

A good starting point is to look at your medical costs from the past two-three years. Include doctor’s visits, lab work, prescriptions and other related items. Also, think about if you will require a larger medical procedure in the next year.

Thinking of items such as this will help you understand all of the different scenarios when speaking with a health insurance agent.