Costco has always had a reputation for being a place where you can go to buy almost anything, so it isn’t surprising that members are wondering whether or not they can look to the retail superstore for help with their health coverage. Being a Costco member gives you the ability to shop at any Costco store nationwide, as well as a 2 percent reward on qualified Costco purchases. Many people don’t realize you can go to Costco for a lot more than groceries. You can buy gas, order checks, and even get a mortgage through Costco. Keep reading to learn about Costco’s health insurance options and who is eligible to purchase from them.
Does Costco offer health insurance?
Costco got into the insurance market years ago, focusing on auto, home, and rental policies. So, does Costco offer health insurance for individuals? The answer is yes, as long as you’re a Costco member. Initially, Costco partnered with Aetna to create their own personal health insurance program. Under this model, Aetna underwrote the policies and paid out claims. The arrival of the Affordable Care Act necessitated some structural changes, and now, the Costco health insurance program operates differently.
Costco works with an insurance broker called Custom Benefits Consultants, Inc. (CBC) to provide members with affordable insurance quotes from the Costco health insurance marketplace. Well known providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield have policies available through Costco. Costco members are also eligible, in some cases, for additional discounts and benefits on some of the plans that are available.
You might be wondering what the benefits are of opting to seek coverage through Costco. Costco’s marketplace can be a great solution for people who don’t qualify for health insurance through their employer, can’t afford their current plan, or are self-employed. You can also make use of their partnership with Health Advocate, a company whose mission is to simplify the process of buying health insurance and help patients understand their options.
What should you consider when purchasing insurance?
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding on a health plan. It’s best to start by thinking about medical expenses you’re likely to have throughout the duration of your coverage. For example, if you’re on a long-term daily prescription, you should look for a plan that doesn’t have a high deductible for prescription drug coverage. A patient that anticipates needing multiple diagnostic tests should prioritize coverage that doesn’t require a high coinsurance payment on that type of test.
There are different types of plans, all of which have a different structure and process by which you obtain the care you need. The most common types are HMO plans and PPO plans. HMOs typically have lower monthly premiums, though you’ll need a referral from your primary care provider (PCP) in order to seek many health services. With a PPO, you won’t need a PCP or a referral to see specialists, but your monthly premium is likely to be more expensive than those offered by HMOs.
Another important consideration for most people is whether they’ll be able to see the doctors they want to see. Check to see if your current doctors, like your primary care physician, are covered under your new plan before making a switch. If you aren’t sure about whether your current health care provider is in-network, you can call your doctor’s office and ask for more information.
Costco remains one of the largest retailers in the country and offers a seriously impressive array of products and services. One of the most surprising services they provide is the ability to find health insurance. Though Costco doesn’t directly sell or underwrite a health insurance policy, they partnered with a respected broker to create a health care marketplace that members can use to save on their insurance costs. If you’re a Costco member in need of insurance, you can visit your local retailer or check out their website to learn more.