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How to Lower Health Insurance Costs

When you’re faced with a medical crisis, the last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to pay for it. But  the US has one of the highest costs of healthcare in the world. In fact, it’s one of  the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States. 

Having health insurance coverage is a must for individual and families, but there are plenty of ways you can cut the costs of your health insurance, from taking advantage of subsidies to increasing your deductible. Stay with us as we cover the best ways to maximize your healthcare savings each month. We will discuss the best ways to save money on your health insurance costs.

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Health Insurance Subsidies

Depending on your income level, the federal government may be able to pay a portion of your health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It offers subsidies, in the form of tax credits, that help lower the cost of your insurance bill each month. You can find out if you’re eligible for cost-sharing reductions based on your income—the lower your income within the range, the more you’ll save. To see if you qualify, head to the online health insurance marketplace.

Quit Smoking

Easier said than done, right? But in addition to the health benefits of ditching tobacco, there is also a financial incentive. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance premiums are based on the following factors: plan category, the number of individuals on the policy, age, location, and tobacco use. Most insurance companies can factor in tobacco use in order to increase health insurance rates for smokers. The rate varies by state, but it can save you a whopping 50% on your monthly premium. 

Insurers rely on the honor system for this information. However, if you receive group health coverage through an employer, your smoking status could be verified through a blood or urine sample at your next routine medical exam. Misrepresentation of your smoking habits may be considered insurance fraud, which carries a different penalty depending on the state where you live.

Increase Your Health Insurance Deductible

This simple move will lower your monthly rate by 5% to 10% because the more you pay out of pocket, the less you will have to pay in premiums. Keep in mind that increasing your deductible will drop your costs right away, but it may be a risky choice if you’re not financially stable. If something catastrophic happens and you can’t afford to make a claim, you could be hit with huge out-of-pocket costs. However, If you are relatively healthy and don’t anticipate lots of medical visits in a year, increasing your deductible in exchange for a lower premium can save you a lot of money. 

Use a Health Savings Account

High-deductible plans are commonly paired with a health savings account, which is a great way to save money on health care. You simply contribute pre-tax money into your account each year for health care use. The benefit of an HSA is that it’s tax-deductible, which means that not only does the money in your account grow tax-free, you can also withdraw it without paying taxes on it. The best way to take advantage of an HSA is by adding to your account regularly. Since you never know when you’ll need those funds, you’ll always be prepared in the event of an emergency.

Use In-Network Doctors

When you’re making an appointment, always double-check that the doctor is still in your insurance plan’s network. If your favorite doctors aren’t participating in the plan, you could face some hefty out-of-network charges. If you need to visit the hospital or emergency care center, ask for in-network providers there as well. After all, even if a facility participates in your plan, it doesn’t guarantee that every medical professional who works there does. Finally, if you need to see a doctor while you’re out of town, contact your insurance provider to get a list of the doctors and services that will be covered.

Double-Check Your Medical Bills

Did you know that roughly 80% of all medical bills contain administrative errors? It’s no coincidence that patients are frequently overcharged, while hospitals and providers rarely—if ever— seem to undercharge. That makes it critical to go through each bill with a fine-toothed comb for inaccuracies, such as incorrect patient, provider or insurance information, as well as incorrect codes for the procedures and duplicate billing. You should also scrutinize the explanation of benefits from your provider and ask questions if something doesn’t look right. 

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

Before you pick a provider or renew your policy, ask for a prescriptions list from your provider to find out if yours are covered. If you have medications that you regularly will need to fill, ask for a list from your provider to find out whether or not your prescriptions will be covered. You might save money by ordering your drugs through the mail or using a preferred pharmacy, so be sure to ask your provider.

You can also go generic. The FDA requires that both prescription and over-the-counter generics be identical in dose, strength, safety, and efficacy. Despite this, the generic version can save you as much as 85% off brand-name counterparts, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Finally, there are a couple of sites that will help lower your prescription drug costs with a few clicks: GoodRX or ScriptSave WellRx. Simply type in your drug name, and you’ll get a coupon to use for the pharmacy that lists the lowest prescription price.

Opt for a Telehealth Visit

If you have a minor health issue, a telemedicine visit can cost a lot less than visiting a doctor’s office. You simply meet with your doctor through a secure video visit on your phone, computer or tablet. It can be a good way to access a doctor or nurse if you have a non-emergency issue such as a cough, rash, fever, or flu. The national average for a virtual visit is $50, compared to $85 for low-severity treatment at a doctor’s office, $130 for an urgent care facility visit and $740 for an emergency room visit. Plus, a televisit saves time and provides 24/7 access for all your healthcare needs.

Change your Co-insurance Ratio

Your co-insurance ratio is  the percentage of covered medical expenses (how much you will pay) after you have met your deductible. Your health insurance plan pays the rest. A common ratio is 80/20, which means that after you’ve paid your deductible toward medical expenses, your insurer will cover 80 percent of the bill and you’ll only pay 20 percent. Changing this ratio so that you pay more than 20% will lower your monthly premium. However, just as with raising your deductible, you’ll need to be financially prepared in the event that you need to make a claim. 

Re-evaluate Your Coverage Every Year 

Do you let your health insurance automatically roll over every year with the same coverage from year to year? If your situation or your premiums have changed since the last time you checked in on your plan, you could be missing out on savings. That’s why it’s important to reassess your insurance each year when it comes time to renew your policy. Here are some helpful things to think about: 

  • Do you take a lot of prescription drugs?
  • Do you have children that go to the doctor often?
  • Are you willing to assume the cost of routine health in exchange for much lower premiums?

You may also be interested in learning how to compare your health insurance plans.

See How Much You Can Save on Health Insurance

We believe that everyone deserves the protection of a comprehensive health insurance policy—and it shouldn’t be a drain on your wallet! That’s why we’re proud to offer some of the best coverage rates in the industry. Compare online health insurance quotes to take the stress out of healthcare shopping and ensure that your coverage is affordable. Get your free medical insurance quote today to get the protection and the savings you deserve.

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