Money Saving Tips - Health Insurance
The United States is perhaps one of the most expensive countries in the world to get sick in. On the up side, if you can afford to pay, it also provides the very best of medical sevices in the world.
Health Insurance is very much a 'must have', especially if you have a familly. There are often tax breaks and it is worth looking around for the best deals on the internet or seek independant advice.
If you want to keep your health insurance costs down it will take perseverance, a pragmatic approach, the time to investigate all options, and the ability to think outside the box for inovative solutions. Here are some money saving tips that may help you reduce the cost of your health insurance.
- You will substantially reduce your health insurance if:
- You don't smoke
- You are not a heavy drinker
- You regularly exercise
- You take care to remain fit and healthy
- If you are self employed you may be able to deduct 100% of your insurance premium form your gross income.
- Consider an HSA - If you have a high-deductible health plan, you are eligible to fund a health savings account (HSA), which you can then use to pay medical expenses. You'll save about $1,500 in taxes for every $5,000 you put into an HSA. Any funds you don't use will grow tax-free and can be rolled over from year to year.
- If your employer offers a flexible spending account, go for it. You can pay co-payments as well as expenses not covered by insurance with these pre-tax dollars.
- Consider increasing deductibles to reduce your premium.
- Go with a Preferred provider organization - A PPO requires that you use doctors and hospitals on its preferred list to receive the maximum benefit allowed under your policy. The preferred list contains doctors and hospitals with whom the insurer has cut deals, some of these benefits are passed on to the consumer in lower premiums. The downside is that if you need to use a non-preferred doctor or hospital a substantial deductible is usually added.
- Join a health maintenance organization. HMO premiums are generally much lower. You give up some freedom of choice by having to use the facilities and Doctors of the HMO. The care given is usually of high standard but is restricted so you will need to be assertive.
- Keep Your Insurance running - If you know you are going to be leaving your job, switch to the lowest-cost plan during this year's open enrollment. Then, after you leave, federal rules (known as COBRA) will let you stay on your employer's health plan for up to 18 months. You have to pay to pay the full cost, plus 2%. When you are done with COBRA, you must sign up for a new policy within 63 days or insurers can legally turn you down or refuse to cover pre-existing conditions.
- Take balanced risks - If you are young and fit, you can cut premiums drastically by going for "catestrophic" coverage. This s an indemnity policy with a very high deductible, maybe as high as $2,500. You can reduce your premiums by as much as 50% depending on your age. Things to check- make sure the policy has a high maximum payout at least $250,000-$500,000. Also get a clear definition of "catestrophic".
- Government Support - If you are on a very low income, permanently disabled or have very high medical expenses you may qualify for federal or state subsidized insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. You may qualify to receive free primary care through public clinics.
- Buy insurance from a carrier that pays no commissions to its salespeople.
- Buy insurance as a group - It can be any reasonably sized group of people, insurance companies are prepared to offer discounts because it gets many new customers.
- If you can't or don't want to form a group, find one to join that has negotiated a good Health Insurance deal.
- Spousal Support - if your spouse is able to benefit from health insurance provided as an emplyee benefit, you can piggy-back the policy until you can afford your own.