As most people know, health insurance costs are crippling families in our country. The current administration signed “Obamacare” into law in March 2010 in hopes of helping American families with healthcare insurance and costs. Theoretically, universal healthcare is an outstanding concept. But does anyone really believe they will get the same type of care from the government as they do if they make their own healthcare choices? The government can’t even balance a checkbook much less provide your child with much needed healthcare. But, this is not a political blog. This is a blog to save you some money.
There are some very good ways to cut health insurance premiums if you are willing to be creative in how you approach a health insurance purchase. Below are 5 ways to take the sting out of writing the check for your monthly health insurance premium.
- Raise your deductible. The higher your deductible, the cheaper your premium. It is that simple. The days of having a $500-$1000 deductibles are over. Folks are already considering a $2,500-$5,000 deductible the norm because of the cost savings each month. If something major happens, $2,500-$5,000 is really a drop in the bucket on a $30,000-40,000 hospital bill.
- Look at Health Savings Account qualified plans(H S A) or High Deductible Health Plans(HDHP). These plans are becoming more and more popular because of the premium savings each month. If you don’t spend much time in the doctor’s office or take prescriptions regularly, these plans may be for you. There are no bells and whistles with these types of plans, i.e., no doctor office copays, no prescription drug benefit, no ER access fees, etc. You do get the benefit of the negotiated rates between the doctor and the insurance company which will save you money off of the regular price. With these plans, you will either get a discount drug card or negotiated rates on drugs as well. With 100% H S A plans, once you meet your deductible everything is covered at 100%. If you set up the Health Savings Account with your bank, financial institution, or the carrier’s recommended institution, you can put money in the account to help cover out of pocket expenses that arise each year. The money you put in the account is first dollar tax deductible, earns interest, and rolls over each year. It is not a use it or lose it account. There are some service fees associated with these accounts.
- Take a more limited plan with a higher deductible. Most carriers will offer limited coverage plans like those with 70% co-insurance or limited doctor’s office visits or both. Usually, they will have higher deductibles between $2,500 and $5,000. Some plans will offer 6 office visits, some 3 visits. Most of these plans will add a higher drug deductible to help offset costs as well. Keep this in mind when selecting a new individual health insurance policy; the average number of doctor’s office visits per year per person is 3.3.
- Take advantage of supplemental insurance. Supplemental insurance is making its way from the group coverage side to the individual side of health insurance policies. Many carriers will offer Critical Illness plans, Hospital Cash plans, individual dental insurance, and life insurance. Take advantage of the critical illness, hospital cash, and individual dental insurance benefits when purchasing health a health insurance plan. If you cut your medical insurance monthly premium by $50-$150 per month, you could very easily add a critical illness and or hospital cash plan. These plans will pay you cash in the event of an onset of any type of critical illness(heart condition or stroke, cancer, blindness, and etc.,) or pay you cash per day of stay in a hospital or in an ICU unit in a hospital. You would need to talk to your agent to select the benefit you want but the cash you receive could cover a deductible or out-of-pocket costs. If you would like to have a dental policy but haven’t been able to fit one into your budget, check into the availability of a preventative dental policy or scheduled benefit policy. Those policies are good, affordable dental policies to provide basic dental coverage.
- Take advantage of low rates. Many folks don’t think premiums are affordable any time. Right now, premiums are very affordable, moreso than they have been in the last 3 or 4 years.
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Remember, the time to buy insurance is not when you need it most.