If you are unfortunate enough to move up “age brackets” that same year, it is possible to get a special birthday gift of 2 premium increases!
This actually happened to myself earlier in the year and I realized it was a good time to evaluate my coverage and determine what could be done to help reduce the monthly premium.
Even with the constant increases in premiums it is still possible to get affordable health coverage, you just have to know what to do and where to look!
These steps are useful for anyone, and can save you anywhere from a few dollars a month to a few hundred or even thousands over the course of a year:
#1 Get Rid of the Doctor’s Office Copay.
While this may seem like a ridiculous to many people when they hear it, think a bit about it. On paper it sounds great to have a copay of $50 but if you look into your region you may find that a network doctor does not cost all that much more than that to begin with. In order to get this benefit, you are paying 25% of your premium. During the course of the year, you are likely to only go to the doctor a few times, so mathematically it just does not make sense to keep this as part of your plan unless you have a lot of anticipated use for it or have historically used it often.
#2 Increase the Premium.
There is a huge difference in premiums with a $500 deductible and a $2,500 yearly deductible can amount to thousands annually.
#3 Use Health Savings Accounts.
One of the major advantages of an H.S.A is its tax advantages, which can amount to a few hundred dollars. It is possible to use tax-deferred money to cover health services, which could help cover a higher deductible.
#4 Live Healthy.
Maintaining a healthy weight and having few dangerous vices like smoking will reduce your premiums, as well as help ensure a longer life.
#5 Increase Prescription Deductibles.
Some people do not feel comfortable with raising their premiums but may want to consider raising the deductible on their prescriptions. It is even possible with some plans to keep a lower deductible on generic drugs regardless.
#6 Consider Consumer Driven Health Plans.
Not all health plans are designed alike and what may be good for a family of 4 is not the right choice for a single 20-something or older adult. For these groups, state-mandated benefits like maternity care do not make sense. There are consumer driven plans that allow you to skip out on these benefits and have lower premiums if you are willing to sign off on an agreement acknowledging that you will not receive them. Just make sure you will not be needing whatever you cut out of the plan in the immediate future.
#7 Shop For The Best Deal.
While people will shop around for lower prices on cars, computers or even cereal at the grocery store, it does not dawn on everyone to shop around for insurance coverage. Just because you have been with your current company for a few years does not necessarily mean they have the best rates for what you need.
Before making any major changes, it is important to make sure that you qualify for a new health plan before canceling the other plan. These are pretty straight forward steps and can save you quite a bit of money depending on how many you choose to enact.
Our guest contributor, Barbara Waltz, is one of the founders of 247QuoteUs.com, an online resource blog and insurance quote comparison guide.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).