If you are keen on insuring yourself as well as your family then insurance premiums must be a big issue in your budget. The truth is that it doesn’t have to cost you a leg to meet your insurance premiums obligations. Your insurance premiums are determined by several factors, some of which are under your control.
Just like you shop around for your car insurance quotes and other great deals, you can also do the same for more affordable health insurance premiums. Here are several options available to you if you want to lower your health insurance premiums.
1. Choose the Right Plan
When choosing your health insurance plan, don’t just focus your attention at its premium only. Although it’s natural that you will want to keep the premiums at their lowest possible, it’s important to also consider what additional expenditure you might incur because of that particular premium rate.
Compare the anticipated health costs with your potential savings. As you evaluate the available choices, compare coinsurance, copay, deductibles and other factors such as lifetime maximums.
2. Compare Coverage
One thing that most people often tend to overlook is to review how different plans can work together to their advantage. For instance, if you are in a domestic partnership or are married, understanding how the two plans (domestic partnership and married) offer coverage and comparing the respective advantages of each plan may help you in reducing costs.
If, for example, you and your spouse both have group insurance plans through your respective workplaces, calculate which among the two covers both your health insurance needs at the lowest possible cost. Sometimes it also pays to pair several health insurance plans. For instance, the young and healthy might benefit by pairing an HDHP with an HSA.
3. Raise Your Deductible
By raising the amount of money you are ready to pay for your healthcare before the insurance company takes over, it’s possible to reduce your insurance premiums considerably. For example, when you transition to a health plan with a high-deductible that is linked to a Health Reimbursement Account or Health Savings Account, you can pay for your out-of-pocket expenses that guarantee that you get some premium savings.
It’s recommended that you try and keep the deductible limit of your plan at the same level as your current cover. This ensures that the threshold limit will be met by the base health insurance policy and the excess covered by the top-up plan. However, ensure that you have adequate money to cover your deductibles.
4. Get Free Preventive Care
Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance plan in the US must include several specific preventive services offered free of charge, without the beneficiary having to pay any copay, deductible or coinsurance. These services range from immunizations, cancer screenings to well-child and well-woman visits. When preventive care needs are not covered by your insurance plan, your premiums are likely to be much lower.
5. Choose an HMO
With a PPO you can access doctors of your choice without any referral for most of your in and out of network services and still remain covered. For this freedom, you pay higher premiums. With an HMO plan, however, one primary health physician coordinates all your health care needs.
To see a specialist, you will need a referral from your primary physician. Similarly, in case of an emergency, you have no access to out-of-network coverage. That’s how your HMO helps in lowering your health care costs as well as your monthly premiums.
6. Certify Your Non-Smoker Status
To bring down your premiums, you can certify your status as a non-smoker with your insurance company. Many providers offer discounts to non-tobacco users or non-smokers. This is because tobacco products usage is often linked to considerable health problems which mean more health costs later. The less risky you are to an insurer, the cheaper your premiums are likely to be.
7. Reassess Your Insurance Needs Regularly
You could be missing out on potential savings just because you have been using the same health insurance plan year after year although your situation might have changed. It’s important to reassess your insurance needs periodically.
Among the things to consider include:
- Are you on prescription drugs?
- Do your children often go to the physician/doctor?
- How important are tax breaks to you?
- Are you ready to meet your routine health costs in exchange for lower premiums?
8. Seek Professional
While bundling health plans under the same insurance company might net you a sizeable discount, make sure that you first ask around and do your math. Often, insurers value variables differently such that you could actually end up getting a better deal by choosing different insurance companies for the different types of insurance you opt to buy.
If you are ready to make a couple of lifestyle concessions, you may find yourself spending much less on premiums, or even getting some reimbursements.
9. Leverage Subsidies
The Affordable Care Act has subsidies designed to help people with lower incomes pay for their health insurance needs. Key among these subsidies is a premium tax credit that helps you pay for the monthly insurance premiums.
The Affordable Care Act has clearly defined the specific income levels at which one qualifies for a premium subsidy. You can also qualify for subsidies and tax credits when you buy a health insurance plan through your respective state’s health insurance marketplace.
10. Grab Every Possible Discount
Finally, it’s important to ensure that you have undertaken proper due diligence. Shop around widely to make sure that you have identified the most affordable plan that not only meets your health insurance needs but one that gives you reliable cover.
Don’t shy away from calling different insurance companies or agents to get quotes. You will be surprised to learn that, often, many will actually bend over backward in efforts to help you identify the best insurance plan because they also want your business.
Although insurance is indispensable because of the health risks we face daily, ensure that you are only paying for what you need. Before buying a health plan, ensure you have explored all the available options, particularly in terms of premium rates.
Understanding the meaning of various health insurance terms and how they could affect your premiums helps you make better buying decisions and thus save on your health insurance expenses.