Health insurance can be expensive and hard to afford. In spite of significant premium increases and fewer insurers offering plans, many Americans still have health insurance. If your family continues to rely on individual coverage, check out these simple ways to save on health insurance. Your employer, another family member, or a community organization may also offer you discounts or other coverage alternatives.
Consolidating your policies and getting a comprehensive plan that covers your medical and dental needs may be worth it. Even if you choose to stay with your current insurance provider, you can look for ways to save money. Here are seven ways to save money on your health insurance:
Shop around for insurance. There are many online resources, including direct-to-consumer websites and online brokerages, that allow you to compare health insurance policies side-by-side. You can also talk to friends, family members, coworkers, and neighbors about their insurance plans.
These conversations will allow you to make sure you understand your options and shop around for the best deal. In some cases, your employer or union may offer a health insurance plan as a benefit. This is not always the case, but you should ask your employer about this benefit if they do.
Set Up your Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you’re self-employed or you own a small business, you can set up a health savings account (HSA) to help you save on health insurance. Put funds in an HSA and then pay for qualified medical expenses out of that account (like insurance premiums) instead of your regular insurance premium. You can take a tax deduction for the funds in the HSA, which can result in significant savings. There are some limitations on what kind of medical expenses can be paid out of an HSA, but these should be discussed with a tax professional.
Learn to Live with a Healthcare Budget
Healthcare can be expensive, and you should expect to make significant sacrifices if you want quality health insurance. One way to save money on your insurance is to get a healthcare budget and make a plan to stick to it. Create a plan that lists all of your medical expenses and what they are for. Then, create a budget that includes those expenses and then some. Figure out how much you can spend on insurance and what you will live without. Try to save as much as possible, and during that savings period, make sure to use the savings to pay for medical expenses. When you finally have to pay your medical bills, you can use the money you saved to pay them off.
Look for Discounts
Health insurance companies offer discounts for healthy members, for families that include children, and for members who take certain medications. Ask your doctor if you qualify for these discounts and take advantage of them. If you have a good health history and you are living healthily, you may be able to get a lower premium for your insurance.
Ask for a Discount
If you’re offered a rate that’s higher than you can afford, consider asking your insurer to lower it. Explain what your budget is, and let the company know that you would like the rate lowered. You can also ask your employer if they offer any discounts on health insurance. If they don’t, you can let your boss know that you would like to cover your health insurance premium with your salary.
Cancel Some Policies
Don’t let your insurance policies stay on the books if they are no longer necessary. If you don’t use an insurance policy, you won’t be eligible to claim any of the discounts on your taxable income. When you are ready to cancel a policy, you need to give your insurer a written notice. Most companies will allow you to cancel your insurance without penalty as long as you give them 30 days’ notice.
Change Your Coverage
If you get a health insurance bill that you can’t stand, change your coverage. When you change your coverage, be sure to let your current insurance company know. Explain that you are switching insurance companies and ask them to save you from any additional charges. This will ensure that they don’t pull your old coverage and bill you for it.
Take Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Benefits
Many large companies offer benefits to provide health insurance for their employees. You should check with your employer to see if they offer any of these benefits. Take advantage of these programs if you have them. They often have lower health insurance premiums than other coverage options.
Health insurance can be expensive, and many Americans still have no choice but to go without it. A lot of people are surprised to learn that they can save on their health insurance, and there are many ways to do it. Shopping around for rates, asking for a discount, setting up a health savings account, and looking for discounts on everything from gas to groceries will help you save on just about any expense.