When evaluating potential job offers, health insurance benefits are most likely one of the first issues you inquire about, second only to salary. Indeed, if you have a large family or a history of medical problems, this may be the first thing you ask about.Of course, health insurance benefits will vary by health insurance plan, so if you are unsure about any aspect of your health insurance options, it’s important to get help from either your Human Resources department at work or a health insurance broker if self-employed or unemployed. It’s easy to make the mistake of assuming that features or benefits exist when they don’t. If your assumptions are wrong, you could be left facing insurmountable medical bills. This is especially true for low cost, cheap health insurance.In a perfect world, all individual or family health plans would pay for every health issue that may arise–pregnancy, blood transfusions, sick and well care, minor and major surgery, hospital stays, etc. But the truth is health insurance benefits typically are limited and they seldom will cover 100% of the costs, which is why it’s so important to read the policy’s fine print. You’ve got to know exactly what is and is not actually covered.The majority of valid health insurance policies provide a minimum level of coverage that typically includes major medical expenses such as hospitalization and emergency/urgent medical care. Some of the most sought after additional benefits include annual physical exams, referrals to and treatment by specialists as needed, hospitalization and emergency care, prescription drug coverage, laboratory work including blood testing and x-rays, maternity benefits, prenatal and well-baby visits, vision benefits, and dental care.Health insurance benefits less commonly include mental health care and treatment, rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol abuse, home health care, hospice care, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.One thing to keep in mind as you evaluate various health insurance benefits is that the primary purpose of any health insurance policy is to protect you from a major financial loss – not to protect you from spending “small” sums of money on office visits. These small expenses can be a burden, but they generally will not break you.To conclude, with something as important as health insurance and the impact it can have on you and your family, be careful not to make any assumptions. Granted, a typical health insurance policy is not exactly a “beach read”, but in the long run it pays to have a clear understanding of your actual benefits. At a minimum, you need to have someone from your Human Resources department or your broker if you are purchasing your policy as an individual, go through and summarize each section of the plan. Again, this may not be your idea of a good time, but in the end it just may save you a bundle.