Wanna know a secret? Buying a health insurance plan isn't as hard as you think. Use these easy tips to save on health insurance and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with keeping yourself and your family insured.
Tip: Join a Group Health Insurance Plan and Save.
In most cases, the health insurance plan you find through your employer should offer the biggest discount. If you're unemployed or self-employed, things get trickier. Look into spouse plans if you're married. Alternately, try to join an insurance plan through an alumni group or trade organization with which you are affiliated. Groups exist specifically for small business or freelance workers, or you can join the AARP. Some credit card plans even offer health insurance policies. If you're leaving a job and a group insurance plan, inquire with the insurance company to see if the plan can be converted to an individual plan.
Tip: Personalize Your Health Insurance Plan.
While nobody can predict the future of our healthcare needs, it's possible to estimate based on your past. Are you basically healthy beyond the yearly checkup? Reduce your monthly premium by increasing your deductible. Are you anticipating lots of doctor's visits in the coming year? Save in the long run with a higher premium and lower deductible. Consider plans with free preventative health care like cancer screenings and immunizations.
Tip: Play by the Rules for Big Discounts.
Save money by only using in-network providers if you're in a POS or PPO plan. Go for a plan that offers a low price on generic prescription medications, and then request generic medications whenever you can. Looking for a plan that only covers the basics? Search for a "Basic and Essential Plan" that means a big monthly discount and covers you in a catastrophic event.
Tip: Pick a Quality Health Insurance Plan.
There are plenty of ways to determine if a prospective health insurance plan is worth the money. Look at the plan's disenrollment rates, the number of members who drop out of the plan every year. Look for high ratings from independent non-government and government organizations, and patient complaints filed against the group. Look beyond the statistics and ask friends and colleagues, doctors, and pharmacists of their opinion on particular companies or plans.
Tip: Get the Facts for Small Business Health Insurance.
Whether you're in business for yourself or you're considering striking out on your own soon, health insurance becomes an entirely different game. You may be able to deduct your health insurance expenses from your taxes as a self-employed worker, provided you spent no time working for an employer that offered health insurance.
No matter what you do, be sure you're never going without health insurance. The money you save may be tiny in comparison to the money you would have to spend out-of-pocket if a health emergency came up. Indeed, educating yourself and purchasing a health insurance plan that works for you can be the best way to save money in the long run.
Amelia Gray is a freelance writer in Austin, TX. Amelia earned a bachelor's degree in English literature from Arizona State University and an MFA from Texas State University.
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