How to Save on Health Insurance

With the costs of health services rising from the roof, the cost of health insurance premiums is also increasing. Health insurance is a must, however, when you consider the costs of a visit to the emergency room, surgery for a broken bone, scans, lab, and other expenses. How can you keep the cost of your health insurance premiums low when your budget is tight? There are several steps you can take to reduce your health insurance costs and maintain adequate medical coverage when you need it.

The first step is to consider what health insurance options you have. Does your employer offer a range of medical benefits? Many employers (and/or labor unions) offer health benefits to full-time workers. Group health insurance is often the cheapest way to get health insurance; an employer can contact health insurance companies to get a group health plan at cheaper prices. Additionally, many employers pay a portion of the premium, further lowering your health insurance cost. Another consideration is whether your spouse has health insurance through their employer? So compare your health benefit plan with your partner’s and decide which health plan is the best purchase. It may be possible for one spouse to be covered by family health insurance and the other to forego health benefits. Many employers have multiple health insurance options, so review these plans as well. Choose the health plan that best suits your needs at the cheapest price.

If you don’t have any health insurance coverage through your employer, there are other ways to get health insurance coverage. Individual and family private health insurance policies are available. Buy and compare benefits and premiums on each health insurance plan. If you and your family are generally healthy, the new Health Savings Account (HSA) may be worth considering. An HSA is an account that allows you to save tax-free dollars for your medical/health expenses. Similar to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), it is limited to the amount you are allowed to contribute each year; However, with the HSA, there are no penalties for withdrawals for healthcare expenses and no tax payable for withdrawals. When paired with a health insurance policy with high exemptions and low rates, an HSA may be ideal for you. Save on HSA and you’re ready for deductions and co-payments.

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For those over 65 or permanently disabled, Medicare is available through the federal government. Original Medicare is an 80/20 plan (they pay 80% of eligible costs and the insured pays 20%), with annual deductions and monthly premiums. Additional health plans are available to cover this deductible and co-pay. These additional health plans are usually private and the insured pays a premium. There are Medicare HMOs in addition to the original Medicare plan. In these Medicare HMO health plans, the Medicare premium is paid to an HMO to benefit the insured. HMO plans are more restrictive as patients must receive care through a network provider, but often these plans cover more prescription medication and preventative care than original Medicare.

Recently, some employers have offered lower bonuses to non-smoking employees. This is a controversial topic for some right now, but it could definitely start a trend. In the future, employers and health insurance providers may offer reduced premiums for employees who maintain a normal weight, exercise regularly, and receive certain health benefits. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk that the health insurance company will pay big money for health care in the future. And health insurance, like any other insurance, is all about risk.

Bottom line: Not being covered by health insurance is a big risk for you. Find health insurance you can afford in case Murphy knocks on your door!

About Lily Hammond

I have been working as an insurance consultant in my own insurance agency since 1998. Because I've been doing this for so long, I know every detail and I'm here to help you. You can find my e-mail address and work phone on the contact page.

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