Health insurance can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime in the unfortunate event something happens. It's there to protect you. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting more expensive for most of us. The good news is that saving money doesn't require you to sacrifice adequate protection. Here are five ways to lower your health insurance costs and save money.
Increase Your Deductible
Raising your deductible is the easiest thing to do when getting cheaper health insurance quotes. It will increase the amount you’ll have to pay for services out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. The insurance company will reward you for doing this by lowering your premiums. You should increase your deductible to an amount that won’t ruin you financially if you have to pay it.
You can pair your high-deductible plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). This is a special account that allows you to contribute a limited amount of pre-taxed dollars to meet current and future healthcare expenses. You can use the money to pay for medical expenses until the deductible is met. The funds in the account roll over from year to year.
Review Insurance through Your Employer
If you are getting insurance through your employer, you should take a close look at the plan and see how you can pay less. Check if there are any incentives on offer. Some employers will give you discounts if you take certain actions such as bio-metric screening to prove you are a non-smoker.
Some employers charge extra if your spouse decides to go on your coverage instead of his or her employer’s coverage. In such cases, it is best to go for separate policies to save money on health insurance premiums. Couples with insurance from two employers usually pay less than one-income couples. It may be cheaper for one-income couples to have one adult on the employer’s plan and buy private insurance for the rest of the family.
Check Your Insurance Network
Insurance companies prefer working with certain doctors and hospitals to control costs. Check to see if your doctor is in your health plan’s network. Visiting health care providers outside the network will make you pay a higher premium. You can save thousands of dollars annually by visiting in-network providers. Only visit out-of-network providers during emergencies. It is also worth noting that health care providers usually reevaluate their plan networks each year. Ask your physician if he or she is in your insurance network whenever you want to book an appointment.
Choose the Right Extras
Choosing the right extras and avoiding the unnecessary ones helps you reduce your insurance costs. If you are sure you won’t need homeopathy, maternity expenses, immunizations or any other treatments, tailor your policy to include only those extras you will most likely need. You can always adjust your plan if your needs change.
Healthy habits not only reduce your visits to the doctor but also significantly reduce your health insurance costs. Lifestyle habits that are not good for your health pose a greater risk for your insurer. As a result, you’ll pay a higher premium. Some companies will even have a premium surcharge for people with bad habits such as smoking. If saving money on health insurance is a priority, make lifestyle choices like getting preventive care such as screenings, avoiding tobacco use, limiting your alcohol intake, exercising and eating a healthy diet.
Make sure you review your health insurance policy each year and see how you can incorporate these action steps to save more money.