9 Tips to Save Money on Health Insurance Plan Costs

Health insurance has become a must today, particularly in view of the rapidly-rising healthcare costs. However, a large number of people still prefer to go without health insurance as they assume they can’t afford it. That may be true in some cases, but not always as there are ways to lower your health insurance bill. Thus, if you are looking for a cheaper solution, here are some ways to save on health insurance:

Shop Around
As with any type of shopping, do your homework to ensure that you found the best deal possible. When looking for new insurance, get at least three quotes and compare the differences. The internet also makes it easy to have insurers bid for your business by filling out just one application. This can also ensure that the same policy options are chosen and the comparisons are on an apples-to-apples basis. An independent insurance agent can also help you shop around, though they will earn a commission that may increase the cost of the insurance.

Buying young
Your age determines the premium that you would be charged under a health plan. When you are young you are relatively free of health complications. That is why premiums for younger ages are lower than premiums for older ages. So, if you want to reduce your health insurance premium outgo, buy a plan when you are young.

Inculcate healthy habits

You can save substantially on healthcare expenses or health insurance just by giving up your bad habits and becoming healthier. To take an example, losing weight or quitting smoking will not only reduce the number of visits to the doctor, but can also dramatically cut health cover costs. For instance, insurers usually give rebate to people who have never been hospitalised or who don’t smoke.

Look beyond government-run marketplace for hidden health insurance options

The fact is that a number of major health insurance companies have pulled out of the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces across the country. In certain parts of the country, there’s only one health insurance company to choose from when you shop through the government-run health insurance exchange.

That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t other options. They’re hiding in plain sight. Take a look at the other health insurance plans available in your area through private online health insurance marketplaces like eHealth.com. There’s no extra charge when you shop through a licensed agent online, and you may find more affordable options that will still meet your coverage requirements under Obamacare rules.

Think outside the traditional health insurance

When it comes to your healthcare, the options today may seem endless. Karen Frost, Vice President of Health Strategy and Solutions at Alight Solutions, explains, “Many new models being introduced in the market are targeted toward improving patient care (ACOs, Integrated Health models like Geisinger or Kaiser, Centers of Expertise). If your doctors are in the network, it’s an easy choice that could save money both in premiums and as you use care.”

Use a Health Savings Account (HSA)

“HSA-eligible health plans can save you a bundle,” encourages Sande Drew of eHealthInsurance.com. The main draw is that they’re tax-deductible so not only does the money in your account grow tax-free, you can also withdraw it without paying taxes on it. Drew adds that the best way to take advantage of the tax break is by adding to your account regularly—you never know when you’ll need those funds so best to be prepared.

Have Separate Coverage For the Family
During open enrollment this fall you may notice a few changes in your health care coverage as it pertains to the rest of your family. One trend that is expected is to see a decrease in the subsidy that is allowed to pay for the family’s coverage in employer health plans. With the sudden spike in cost, it could make sense to keep only yourself on your policy and your employer and put your spouse and kids on their own policy.

I have many married friends that are both employed and have adopted this strategy. I wish I had some more specific numbers to share on their money saving tips, but it obviously made sense because they are doing it.

When you open enrollment period rolls around, don’t take it for granted. This may be an easy opportunity to save your family thousands of dollars in insurance premiums for the year.

Remember to Network

When making an appointment, always double-check that the doctor is still in your insurance plan’s network. (Many come and go.) And ask to see in-network providers when you go to the hospital or an urgent-care center. Just because a facility participates in your plan doesn’t mean every professional (the nurse-practitioner or radiologist, for instance) does. Also, if you need to see a doctor when you’re out of town, call your insurance provider’s toll-free phone number to find out the best way to get services that will be covered.

Use the health insurance tax saving benefits to the fullest

Health insurance premiums are allowed as tax deduction from your taxable income under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. If you pay premiums for yourself and your family, you get a maximum deduction limit of up to Rs.25, 000. If you also pay premiums for a separate health policy for your parents, another deduction of up to Rs.25, 000 is allowed. These deductions increase to Rs.30, 000 if you and/or your parents are senior citizens (above 60 years of age.). Thus, you can claim a maximum deduction of up to Rs.60, 000 through health insurance premiums.

So, you can definitely save money on health insurance through the above-mentioned tips. The next time you are buying or renewing a health insurance plan, be sure to use these cost-saving ideas and lower your premiums.