Health insurance. They aren’t dirty words – at least, they don’t have to be. If you spend a little time learning how to get the best health insurance you can reap surprising benefits. Every buyer and every insurance company is different, but here are a few general ideas that can apply to almost every health insurance situation:
Help keep your portion of health insurance costs low by taking advantage of perks your employer may offer. For example, a company may offer a rebate of the cost of one monthly premium when you provide proof of a preventative checkup. Read your employee manual or talk to HR to see what incentives your company offers.
If you’re self-employed, remember that health insurance is tax-deductible. Talking to your accountant could mean that your health insurance costs less out of pocket than you expected, because of tax law allowances on your adjusted gross income. Medical costs can also be tax deductible however, so talk to a tax expert to decide what will offer you the most savings.
If you have recently lost a job, signing up for COBRA insurance is the quickest fix to keeping you covered, however it is not the cheapest. COBRA allows you to keep the same insurance coverage that you had with your employer however you will be paying the full costs which can get quite expensive.
Get a copy of your health care plans drug formulary and make sure that any medication prescribed to you is on that list. Every insurance company has a different formulary that shows what they cover. The out of pocket cost of an uncovered prescription can be in the hundreds of dollars so make sure that you are covered.
Consider opening a healthcare savings plan. These plans are typically for people with high deductibles and allow you to deposit funds for later use on prescriptions and other medical costs not covered in your policy. The deposits you make are usually tax-deductible, so take advantage of this offer if your insurance company provides it.
Your employer may offer you a health insurance plan but it may not be the plan that is going to be the best one for you and your family. Be sure to check the limitations of the plans before enrolling for it. Just because your employer has selected this policy to offer does not mean that it is best for you.
Prioritize your concerns. Do you want to stick with a certain doctor or health care facility? Do you want the lowest premiums? Do you have specific health requirements that need to be addressed? Once you make a list of your priorities, you will be able to narrow down the number of health insurance companies that are suitable for your needs.
Consider a Health Spending Account when choosing your health insurance plan. An HSA can cover unexpected health spending that wouldn’t normally be covered by your plan, so you can choose a plan that costs less and save money. An HSA gives you more leeway in what is covered and isn’t covered as well, so you can use it on treatment such as chiropractic.
Think twice before purchasing a supplemental policy, such as cancer insurance. Often the benefits from your cancer policy will go unused because your primary insurance policy already has you covered. In addition, most supplemental policies have very strict guidelines and limitations with regards to how they can be used.
Buying health insurance is not that different from staying healthy. The time to act is long before trouble comes up. Insurance buyers who learn all they can and prepare themselves well can get the health insurance they need for significantly less money. And once the policy is bought, smart research will help the holder get the most out of it.