Health insurance costs can be significant expenses for those of us who don’t receive coverage from our employers. However, health care is something that everyone needs, regardless of race, age, profession or income level. Many people who are living under tight budget constraints find it difficult to manage their health insurance costs, but if you follow these 5 tips you can easily lower your expenses while retaining your coverage.
- Opt for a Higher Deductible
Your insurance company will typically be willing to compromise with you on a couple of points. Raising your deductible, for example, will usually offer a benefit in the form of lower monthly premiums. If you’re willing to pay more out of pocket when health care needs arise, you can maintain your safety net at a lower cost. Talk to your insurance provider about this option. If you are in good health and lead a low-risk lifestyle, a higher deductible can save you a lot of money.
- Raise Your Copay
Insurance providers love customers who are willing to pay more money. When you go to the doctor or dentist, for example, you pay some of the cost of your check-ups, procedures and medications in the form of a copay. Your insurance provider covers the remaining cost. If you are willing to raise your copay and shell out a few more dollars for these medical expenses, your insurance provider will usually reward you with lower rates. Much like increasing your deductible, opting for a greater copay will usually lead to a more reasonable health insurance premium.
- Improve Your Health
It should go without saying, but this tip is so obvious that it’s commonly overlooked. Of course, healthy people are going to have fewer health care needs on a regular basis. If you’re not getting sick, you have no reason to go to the doctor aside from the occasional check-up. You can also make healthy lifestyle changes to lower your insurance rates. If you are a smoker, for example, you are already paying higher premiums than the average person. Quit today, and you could save big on your monthly insurance rates in the future.
- Start a Health Savings Account
This is an option commonly available to those who opt for higher deductibles on their health insurance. A health savings account, or HSA, allows you to contribute pre-tax money from your paycheck to an account that will be used to cover health expenses. If your health expenses are above a certain percentage of your annual income, then they may actually become tax deductible. A growing HSA combined with a higher deductible and copay may be your perfect solution to the problem of expensive health coverage.
- Negotiate with Your Provider
Finding affordable health insurance is often a simple matter of negotiations. Talk to your insurance provider. If you’ve been with the same company for several years, they may be willing to negotiate with you on monthly premiums in order to retain you as a customer. If an insurance company starts losing customers because it is unwilling to budge on coverage plans, it stands to lose a great deal. Negotiating a lower premium with your provider can help create a mutually beneficial arrangement that will leave all parties smiling.