Health care costs are at record highs throughout the nation, which is the very primary reason for health insurance. With health insurance being in high demand, the cost has increased as well.
Affordable health insurance is not among the easiest to find but it does exist. It also changes every year since most affordable health plans are government assisted. What is defined as affordable extends a little bit beyond what you pay every month to maintain your insurance. While the monthly premium may seem like the main factor as to whether or not a health care plan is affordable. The other costs you pay when the time comes is also important factor to consider based on circumstances.
Factoring Your Circumstances
Before you start your new search for affordable health insurance, you must evaluate you and your family’s (if applicable) current health and financial status plus any foreseeable circumstances that could happen in the near future. The means considering the likelihood of needing medical attention and the risks in the event you need medical attention.
Some Factors To Consider:
- Any physical/mental conditions or disabilities you or a member in your family has. Including dental and vision needs.
- How often you need to see a doctor throughout the year.
- What prescription medications you need to take regularly.
- How much you can pay out-of-pocket in the event of a medical emergency (i.e. how much money you have saved for an emergency)
- Whether you or your family can handle a loss of income in the event someone is unable to work to provide income.
If you have certain medical needs that require regular medical services, special testing, and medication, then you would not want a health insurance plan that has carries a high deductible with a low premium.
This could cost you more money overtime and put you or your entire family at high risk of getting into Medical debt. If you have a low savings, and hospitalization causes you to miss work to provide income for yourself and family.
Determining Your Circumstances
With the factors now taken into consideration, you can determine what kind of health insurance would be best suited for you.
Whether a low monthly premium being all you need to have coverage for an emergency that is unlikely to happen or if paying a higher premium with low/no deductible coverage is more ideal.
Low Premium & High Deductible Circumstances (A)
- You have no health conditions in your family
- You take one prescription medication regularly
- You have low risk of you being hospitalized
- You only visit your physician biannually OR visit a specialist such as a psychiatrist regularly to maintain your health.
Higher Premium & Low Deductible Circumstances (B)
- You or someone in your family has a health condition that needs consistent attention from a doctor.
- You require multiple types of prescription medication to main your well being.
- You need to visit a physician or specialist as often as every 3 months.
- Your risk of being hospitalized is high OR
- You do not want to pay high deductibles in an emergency.
Have a High Deductible To Reduce Premiums
A high deductible is one of the most straightforward ways to get a lower premium. Just like with a simple loan from a bank, the more money you put down in the beginning (aka the deductible) the less you will have to pay every month (aka the premium). This option is best if you’ve determined that the former circumstance (A) listed above fits your situation. With a higher deductible, you save anywhere from 10-30% on your monthly premium depending on how high you set your deductible to be. Keep in mind that the deductible how much money you pay before health insurance provider starts to pay.
Raise Coinsurance and Co-Pays To Reduce Premiums
A similar method to having a high deductible. This means you will being paying more out of your wallet after you reach your deductible or every time you visit a doctor or purchase prescription drugs. You may have the option to eliminate prescription medication coverage to further reduce your monthly premium if you don’t take any expensive prescription medication. Again this option works best in the former circumstance (A) above, but it’s always important to maintain a proper balance with your coinsurance and copay so you’re not under-insured. Even though a sickness or trip to the hospital may not be entirely likely for you, it is still possible and insurance is design to cover this.
Get Insurance Though Your State’s Health Insurance Marketplace
With the healthcare reform in place, the Government Health Insurance is where you can shop around for health insurance and enroll health insurance at a potentially lower cost through subsidies or available specialized lower premiums based on what you qualify for. Not everyone will qualify, mostly because a household makes too much money. The marketplace is the only place you can apply for a major but subsidized health insurance policy with federal cost assistance. This will allow you to shop insurance plans, comparing all cost to see what best suits your medical needs based on your financial position. This is best for both instances above. However, you can only enroll once per year.
Health Savings Account
A health savings account (HSA) is for those enrolled in High Deductible Health Insurance plans. In order to qualify, you must have a high deductible insurance plan as defined by the government. With an HSA you contribute money from your pretax dollars to it from your payroll or through your taxes every year. How much you contribute is limited by the government which results in affordable deductions from your payroll check or taxes. An HSA will help cover costs that your insurance does not pay, including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays. It does not cover your premiums every month. This is ideal if you fall into the latter category (B) above but need to reduce your monthly premiums by having a high deductible.