HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS TOO MUCH
You were having a nice day. Then you got a notice that your individual health insurance rates had just been increased - a lot! You cannot believe that the insurance company expects you to fork over 20 to 40% more for your monthly premium next year. Will you have to take the drastic risk of going without health insurance?
Or maybe you're a small business owner who is trying to do the right thing for your employees. Your agent just called to tell you that since one of your employees just had surgery, the rates for everybody in your entire business would be increased by a double digit percentage. You want to do the right thing for your employees, but this increase might mean you have to lay somebody off or drastically slash everybody's benefits.
What can you do?
Of course, the easiest thing you can do to cut your premium is to increase your deductible, reduce your benefits, or shoulder a higher copay amount. The less risk that the health insurance company incurs, the less they will charge you. However once you take that step, you may not be able to replace your old benefit level without incurring additional underwriting. Also, if you do get sick or have a serious accident, you may not have saved any money at all in the long run!
Is there an antidote for high health insurance premiums?
Well, of course, I have a couple of suggestions. You might consider raising your deductible and adding an accident and illness indemnity plan. A few thousand dollars in case of a fracture, or several thousand dollars in case of a serious illness can pay deductibles, and help you to meet expenses while you're not working. The sorts of plans are usually inexpensive anyway. Some companies will guarantee rates for a longer period for insurance plans with high deductibles or specified benefits.
One other benefit you may reconsider are doctor copays. Sometimes this option can raise your premium by 25%, and if you only go to the doctor twice a year, it really doesn't save you any money. Determine what the copay option really covers - just the doctor, or the doctor and lab tests. Many just cover the doctor visits, and lab work is extra anyway.
What if you don't want to cut your benefits?
If you don't want to cut benefits, consider shopping around. It is so easy to compare insurance companies and get quotes these days. A few minutes in front of your computer screen should give you a very good idea of available options.
When you buy health insurance, you look at price and benefits. When an insurance company looks at you, they consider your health, age, and even your credit score! Different companies have different standards, and you may be able to find comparable coverage for less money. When you do shop, make sure you do your research, are aware of pre-existing conditions, and consult some qualified agents. Health Insurance Agents should be aware of different company policies, and they should lead you in the right direction.