Health insurance is just like any consumer product: You search for the best plan that charges the most reasonable price. Although buying a health insurance policy is a crucial part of staying healthy, the rising high costs of plans can leave you feeling under the weather. How do you find affordable health insurance coverage that provides you with the healthcare services you need?
It starts by understanding the controllable costs associated with a health insurance policy, such as a monthly premium and an annual deductible. Then, you look to implement one or more ways to lower the price of a policy like maximizing tax savings and participating in a cost-sharing program.
What Are the Standard Costs Associated with a Health Insurance Policy?
Saving money on health insurance involves understanding the four standard costs associated with a plan.
Your health insurance premium represents the amount you pay each month for coverage. Several factors impact the value of a monthly health insurance premium, such as age, health risk factors, and the extent of coverage. If you receive health insurance coverage through your employer, you might not have to pay anything for a monthly premium. In 2021, the average annual premium for an employer-sponsored family health insurance policy sat at $22,221, with the average employer contribution valued at $5,969.
Learn more in How to Lower My Health Insurance Premium.
The deductible for your health insurance policy represents the amount you pay out-of-pocket each year for coverage. For example, if your annual deductible is $5,000, you must pay for the first $5,000 worth of healthcare services before your plan kicks in to cover costs. One effective way to lower your monthly health insurance premium is to opt for a higher annual deductible. If you are relatively young and in good health, increasing your annual deductible to lower monthly premiums might be a sound financial decision.
Copayments represent the value of certain healthcare services that you are accountable for regardless of your monthly premiums and annual deductible. For instance, you might have to pay $50 for each physician visit such as for an annual physical examination. Copayments represent flat fees that make it easy to budget for when considering using specific healthcare services. The fewer healthcare services used, the lower your healthcare costs.
Coinsurance does not charge a flat fee for certain healthcare services. Instead, coinsurance charges a percentage of a healthcare service that you must pay out-of-pocket. Let’s assume your plan charges you 40 percent to receive care for flu symptoms. You must pay 40 percent for the cost of treating the flu symptoms while your insurance company pays the remaining 60 percent of the bill.
Learn more in How Do Deductibles, Coinsurance, and Copays Work?
What are the Proven Strategies for Finding Affordable Health Insurance Coverage?
In addition to reducing costs like copayments and coinsurance, you can implement strategies to save money on health insurance.
As we mentioned, a health insurance plan is just like any other type of consumer product. This means you should follow the same steps that you follow for purchasing other consumer products, such as furniture and electronics. Comparative shopping allows you to create a shortlist of health insurance policies that you analyze for cost and the services provided. The Internet has made comparative shopping for health insurance easy because you can find policies to compare at one convenient website.
Want to take the legwork out of comparative shopping? Insurance Broker Hub is a free service that does the legwork, shopping, and research to find the plan that is tailored to your budget and needs. Request a free quote here.
Stay in Your Network
When you purchase a health insurance policy, the policy includes a list of doctors and pharmacies where you receive services at a reduced price. Going outside the network for healthcare and prescription drug services substantially increases the cost of your plan. Staying in your network requires you to confirm that your current physician is listed in the network. If your physician is not listed in a health insurance plan network, you must decide whether to find another doctor or search for a different health insurance policy.
Learn more in How Do I Know if My Doctor is In-Network?
Take Advantage of Tax Savings
You can save money on health insurance by taking advantage of a plan that offers tax savings. A health savings account (HSA) is for a high-deductible plan (HDHP). You deposit money into an HSA and withdraw the money tax-free to pay for certain medical expenses, such as copayments and the high annual deductible. Flexible spending accounts (FSA) represent an employer-sponsored program in which you contribute pre-tax money into an account and then withdraw the money tax-free for qualified healthcare services. As a similar type of tax savings strategy, employers, not employees, fund health reimbursement arrangements that employees withdraw funds tax-free for specified healthcare services.
The Bottom Line: Stay Healthy and Use Insurance Broker Hub
The most effective strategy to find affordable health insurance involves maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced, nutritious diet, as well as follow an exercise regimen. Avoid health risks such as smoking, drinking caffeinated beverages, and eating foods high in sodium and saturated fats. The condition of your body is the most important factor that determines how much money you save on health insurance.
The old-school method for buying a health insurance policy required extensive research that involved making phone calls, receiving company brochures through the mail, and creating a comparative list of potential health insurance providers. Insurance Broker Hub has eliminated the time-consuming process of purchasing a health insurance policy. We are an independent national broker network that gives you access to every health insurance provider in the industry, including off-exchange providers. Get your free health insurance quote and start saving today!