Health insurance can be a complex subject, and one of the most important decisions we make as individuals. Not only does it have a drastic effect on our physical well-being, but the consequences of choosing the wrong plan can be disastrous for our financial well-being as well.
It is therefore critical to choose a plan that provides adequate coverage, while still being cost-effective enough not to damage your financial flexibility. The following are 5 tips you can utilize to minimize the cost of your premiums, co-pays, and medication:
The price of your insurance and prescription medication will vary largely by state. For instance, the cost of health insurance in New York is substantially more expensive than most other states, which is the result of the state policy to insure everyone, regardless of their health. However, many states do offer ways to circumvent these higher priced policies, depending on your situation.
Low income earners can take advantage of special state discounts on medical care. Visit your state’s insurance information center on the web, and find out if you qualify for any special deduction.
2. Map Out Your Priorities
Some patients have a strong relationship with their physician. If the same applies to you, you want to opt for a policy that covers their services. Most health insurance agents suggest you should write a list of the top 5 things you want out of your health insurance coverage, as well as healthcare options you can live without or don’t mind paying a higher deductible on.
Once you start to narrow down your list to the things you need most, you can start to explore the options and policies that qualify. Some things to consider are the cost of premiums, the doctors you wish to see, the amount of specialists you will need to consult, and the customer service of the insurance company and whether that is important to you.
3. Consult a Broker
An insurance broker is an expert in dealing with insurance products, and has the experience to find a product that suits you best at a price you can afford. They can also simplify the process for you, and may have knowledge of discounts that you were unaware of as a layman.
4. Be a Smart Shopper
You don’t have to have a silver tongue to negotiate a good price. Insurance products, after all, are variable from person to person, and you can sometimes negotiate a better price by demonstrating a history of good health and taking care of yourself.
Even after you choose a plan, it’s a good idea to always shop for generic versions of a drug, and ask your doctor to give you longer prescriptions so that you can buy in bulk. Some health plans even come with a trial period, but still require you to pay unless you actually cancel the service and request a refund.
5. Opt for a Health Savings Account
Many times people wonder if all the money they put into premiums actually outweighs the amount they spend on healthcare. Much of this depends on your personal health. If you are a healthy individual and rarely need to see a physician, you might actually save money but putting a monthly deposit into a Health Savings Account. This money can grow tax-deferred and best of all, once you retire you can keep any money which you didn’t spend.