by Susan Paige
38 million people in the United States have inadequate health insurance. Many of them, even for their bad policies, are paying too much. As you and your family consider purchasing a policy of your own, our team hopes that you don’t fall into either of those buckets.
Therein lies the purpose of this post.
Below, we discuss what to look for in health insurance and how you can save money on a quality plan.
What to Look for in Health Insurance
Not all health insurance policies are created equal. You must know what to look for in a plan before purchasing a policy to ensure that you don’t end up overpaying for cut-rate coverage.
Here are four key elements to keep an eye on:
Your Policy Premium
A policy premium is an amount that you’ll have to pay each month to keep your insurance active. This premium must be paid whether or not you cash in on your insurance policy.
Higher premiums usually dictate better coverage but that’s not always the case.
A deductible is the amount of money that you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you needed to get a $3000.00 surgery, you might have to pay $500.00 before your insurance kicks in and pays the remaining $2500.00.
Most insurance providers will restrict the doctors that you can see. This is called a doctor “network”.
If your insurance only allows you to see a limited amount of doctors that are of poor caliber, that’s a problem. More expensive insurance policies allow their customers to pick any doctor that operates domestically and will pay for all covered services.
Note that some restricted doctor’s networks are made up of excellent physicians so don’t let network restrictions keep you from buying into a policy that’s a good deal.
Pharmaceuticals make up a large portion of annual healthcare costs. As a matter of fact, Americans spend more than 300 billion dollars on drugs each year.
Understand to what degree your insurance provider is going to cover the medications that you need. Then, figure out how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket for those drugs every month.
It may make more sense to choose a pricier policy that offers better drug coverage if you anticipate high prescription costs.
How to Save Money on a Heath Insurance Policy
Now that you know what to look for in health insurance, let’s discuss how to get the best price on coverage. Here are four things that you can do which will have the largest impact on your medical bills.
Insurance providers charge different rates for different degrees of coverage. Finding out which insurance provider offers the most for the least is a matter of comparing and contrasting plans.
You can compare and shop for plans from early November to Mid-December or during any other time of the year if you’ve experienced a change in life circumstances.
See If You Qualify for Free or Subsidized Insurance
Many states offer free or subsidized health insurance to their poor inhabitants. When you put in your income information on healthcare.gov, you should be able to see whether or not you qualify for those programs.
If you do, you’ll be directed to your state’s health insurance website where you’ll have to fill out an application.
Stay in Your Network
Health insurance plans that have restricted doctor’s networks are sometimes coy about sharing which doctors are covered and which aren’t. What’s worst is that some doctors may say that they work with your provider by mistake which can lead to costly and unexpected medical bills.
Our advice is to always call your healthcare provider directly to make sure that a doctor is covered by their insurance network before receiving services. Do this even if the doctor is listed on your insurer’s website.
Misprints happen on websites all of the time and it’s not likely that your insurer will want to accept liability for mistakes that they made in not updating information.
Shop Around for Your Prescriptions
Since prescriptions can substantially heighten the amount of healthcare cost that you’ll pay in a given year, you’ll want to make shopping around for affordable drugs a big part of your healthcare strategy.
Different pharmacies can charge vastly different rates for the same prescriptions. If you add coupons to the mix, you can save even more.
Many US citizens take things further by ordering prescription drugs online from Canadian pharmacies that offer drugs at much lower rates than US pharmacies. While the practice of importing drugs is technically illegal, the government has been quiet about prosecuting such offensives so long as drugs are acquired for personal use with a prescription.
As with all things related to legal matters, talk to an attorney before taking action.
Now That You Know What to Look for in Health Insurance, Get Your Policy
Knowing what to look for in health insurance and how to save money on your plan can have a big impact on your ability to stay healthy without breaking the bank. Now all that’s left to do is to purchase an insurance plan that best suits your needs and get covered.
Remember, while you may not feel like you need health insurance today, you never know when adversity might strike.
Don’t get caught uncovered and feel free to browse more of the information on our website if you’d like additional lifestyle and financial advice.