Health care is a necessity for all Americans, regardless of their age, job or health status. However, not everyone is able to get health insurance through their place of employment. When this is the case, it becomes essential for them to seek out private, individual health insurance that they can purchase for themselves. This is important, but it can also get very expensive. What follows is a brief article describing some of the top strategies for saving money on individual health insurance. It is our hope that with this advice and some research and careful budgeting, health insurance will be an attainable, affordable goal for everyone.
Chances are you’ve already heard this advice from countless sources and in many different contexts. Well the fact is, that for affordable individual health insurance it is just as important as ever to heed this warning. Being a smoker significantly increases your risk for a wide array of diseases and health conditions. In fact just about every system in your body, rather it is your respiratory system, cardiovascular system, digestive, system, etc., is negatively impacted in some way if you are a smoker. Thus, it is no surprise that insurance companies penalize smokers with higher rates. After all these people come with a greater risk, so it is understandable that the insurance companies want to offset this risk by charging higher premiums. Not smoking will also have the added benefit of saving you money on all those cigarettes, allowing you to afford your lower health care coverage that much easier.
Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
This is another almost no brainer, which will again have a wide variety of other benefits as well. Most individual health care policies will charge more if you are significantly overweight, or if you have a major medical condition. Even if you are not “rated up” for these conditions, you are still likely to see an exclusion of coverage on pre-existing conditions. The best way to prevent this, is to stay healthy and avoid developing these conditions in the first place. That is where a healthy lifestyle comes into play.
In addition to eating right and maintaining a healthy weight, it is also important to get plenty of exercise, get adequate sleep, and go to a doctor regularly for check ups. Doing these things will indicate to your insurance company that you are serious about taking care of your health and are therefore a lower risk. It will also help you feel better and live longer. If you previously received higher rates due to excess weight, then make sure to let the insurance company know once that weight comes off so that you can see if you qualify for a discount.
Consider A Higher Deductible
One of the easiest ways to get your health insurance rates down, is to simply increase your deductible. Your deductible is the amount of out-of-pocket expenses that you are responsible for before your health insurance kicks in and pays for the rest. Thus if you have a higher deductible your health insurance company will be willing to lower your premiums since they will be pay less for smaller incidents. This can be a good option since it gives you the security of knowing that you have coverage if anything major occurs, while letting you keep your rates down by being willing to pay more for the smaller stuff. Consult your insurance agent so that you can get a clear picture of how adjusting your deductible will alter your coverage and rates.
Shop Around For The Best Rates and Plans
Before you sign up for the first individual health insurance plan that you see, it is important to shop around and see what your other options are. Can you get better coverage for the same price with a different insurance company? Can you get comparable coverage for a lower price with a different company? Does this or another company offer a different plan that might be more affordable or suit your needs better? All of these things need to be questions you ask yourself, and even your insurance agent. Many insurance agents do have multiple plans available or represent multiple insurance companies. Let them know what your needs and budget is and see what they can do for you. It may take a little more time and require a little more work, but the savings will be well worth it.
These are just four simple ways to make individual health insurance more affordable; however, they are also four of the biggest and most important strategies to consider. Whenever making decisions about insurance company remember to look at the overall picture and get a clear sense of what you want. Consider changes carefully and don’t rush into anything.