Everyone knows how expensive health insurance is these days. When it comes to paying for your health insurance, however, there are ways to trim costs and make it more affordable. Let Benzinga show you some of the many ways you can make health insurance cheaper while still fitting your needs. You may be surprised how simple some of these methods are and wonder why you didn’t think of them yourself.
Where Does Your Health Insurance Come From?
Your health insurance may come from a variety of sources. According to the 2020 census, Americans today get their health insurance coverage from:
- Their employer: Most Americans get their health insurance through their employers. In fact, as much as 54% of all health insurance plans are employer-sponsored.
- Private plans: Private plans like preferred-provider organizations (PPOs) and health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) as well as the Marketplace, comprise 66% of all health insurance plans. Compare this to public coverage, which makes up just 34%.
- Medicare: Medicare recipients make up 18% of all those covered by health insurance.
- Medicaid: Medicaid covers 17% of all health insurance recipients in the United States.
- Veteran Health Administration: Health insurance through the VA, including the Civilian Health and Medical Program of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), comprises just 1% of all recipients.
The 2020 census shows that 8.6% of Americans have no health insurance at all.
10 Ways To Save On Your Health Insurance
If you’re paying too much for health insurance, there are ways to reduce your costs. Health insurance does not come in a one-size-fits-all package, and there are many ways you can save money.
1. Adjust Your Deductible
If you’ve ever used your health insurance for more than a simple doctor’s visit or procedure, you know there’s a deductible. Your health insurance deductible can be anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and it isn’t applied with every use but on an annual basis. Still, did you know you can make your monthly premiums increase or decrease by adjusting the amount of your deductible? The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. This is because by raising your deductible, you take a higher stake when it comes time to make a claim. If you don’t foresee using your health insurance for much more than doctors’ visits and prescription medication, you can save money on your health insurance by raising your annual deductibles.
2. Trim The Fat From Your Policy
Believe it or not, millions of health insurance policyholders are paying for coverage they’ll never use. You might be one of those people. Have you read your policy carefully? Maybe you’ve got coverage for procedures you’ll never use, like maternity care when you have no plans of having children. A good health insurance policy fits your individual needs. Make sure you’re not paying for services you’ll never use or overpaying for those you might. Just like buying a car, fiddle with all the buttons and knobs. Take it for a test drive. Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.
3. Take Advantage Of Health Insurance Tax Credits
The Affordable Health Care Act, signed into law in 2010, allows you to take advantage of important tax credits when it comes to making your health insurance more affordable. If you’re paying too much for health insurance, there is help in the way of the premium tax credit from Healthcare.gov and the Marketplace. A health insurance tax credit can make your health insurance more affordable by lowering your monthly premiums. If you qualify, the Marketplace sends your tax credit directly to the insurance company, reducing your monthly premiums. This is known as an advanced payment of the premium tax credit.
4. Choose HMO, Not PPO
If you have expensive PPO coverage that allows you to see any doctor you want, you probably aren’t worried about trimming down your healthcare costs. If you’ve got an HMO policy, however, you’ll find it much less expensive to stay within your network. Nationally, HMOs cost on average $427 per month in premiums, compared to $517 for a PPO. On top of that, HMOs typically don’t have deductibles and often have no copay for visiting your primary care physician. Many HMOs also do not charge coinsurance.
5. Use A Health Savings Account
A health savings account is much like a regular savings account, only the money saved goes toward your healthcare costs. You’re the one who owns the money in the account, not your employer, and not the insurance company. The best part is that the money in your health savings account is not taxed. You cannot, however, just open any savings account and call it a health savings account. To be eligible, you need to have a high-deductible plan health insurance. Health savings accounts are often used to pay the higher deductibles. The best part of the health savings account is that you make the decisions about how much you want to save and how much you want to spend.
6. Make Healthier Choices
The healthier you are, the more affordable your health insurance will be. Although insurance by its nature spreads the costs across the whole of society, premiums for a nonsmoker will be cheaper than those of a smoker. If you’re in good health and don’t expect to be using your health insurance so much, you can even opt for a higher deductible and lower your monthly premiums. You can even choose a catastrophic plan, just in case something happens to you.
7. Take Advantage Of Free Resources
If health insurance costs make it prohibitive for you to get the healthcare coverage you need, make good use of all the free resources available. Some of these include community or county clinics and sometimes charitable private clinics. While some are free for those who qualify, others require only a small out-of-pocket expense to the patient. Many of these offer free annual physicals as well as mammograms and birth control for women.
8. Use Prescription Medication Savings Programs
You don’t have to have health insurance to save money on your prescription medication. Private prescription medication plans like GoodRx and SIngleCare offer discounts on prescription medication sometimes as high as 80%. In fact, often people with prescription medication plans use these discount services when their plans don’t provide coverage for a specific type of medication. Discount programs like GoodRx are accepted at more than 70,000 pharmacies nationwide and are easy to use. Most even have mobile apps.
9. Apply For Medicaid
If all else fails and you just can’t afford health insurance, there’s always Medicaid, a federal health insurance program administered by the states. Medicaid isn’t a healthcare system but instead health insurance that allows you to choose from doctors from within the Medicaid network. To qualify for Medicaid, you must have extremely low or no income at all. Children often qualify at slightly higher income levels.
10. Shop Around
Last but not least, shop around. Do your due diligence and get as many price quotes as you can. There are some great websites like Policygenius that do the price comparisons for you. Find out exactly which type of health insurance fits your needs, educate yourself on deductibles, coinsurance and copays and the most affordable policy that fits you. There’s never a downside to having the maximum knowledge possible when it comes to choosing the right health insurance coverage.
Compare Health Insurance
Comparing health insurance policies can be like comparing apples and oranges. There are so many different features and costs, sometimes you don’t know which way is up. Benzinga has put together some great choices that will help you decide exactly which health insurance is right for you.
- securely through Sidecar Health Access Plan's websiteBest For:No enrollment period health insurance
Plans referred to above are excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance products marketed and administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC and underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company or United States Fire Insurance Company, depending on the state. As an excepted benefit plan, it does not provide comprehensive/major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage, or essential health benefits. You cannot receive a subsidy (premium tax credit and/or cost-sharing reduction) under the ACA in connection with your purchase of such an excepted benefit fixed indemnity insurance plan. Also, the termination or loss of this policy does not entitle you to a special enrollment period to purchase a health benefit plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage outside of an open enrollment period. Coverage and plan options may vary or may not be available in all states.
Get More Information On Health Insurance
Choosing the right health insurance policy isn't easy. There are many factors to consider such as cost, choice of doctors and prescription medication plans. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming. Let the health insurance experts at Benzinga guide you with its vast array of healthcare articles and educational tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is health insurance so expensive?
The biggest factor when it comes to health insuranface cost is the price of medical care. In fact, medical care costs account for 90% of all healthcare expenditures. As the population grows and new medical technologies evolve, the cost of having health insurance increases, even if you’re not a senior citizen and you’re not chronically ill. The rise in life expectancy and the addition of millions of more people to health insurance rolls has only driven the cost higher.
How do I choose the right health insurance coverage for me?
Choosing the right health insurance policy consists of many factors. It must not only be a good fit for the health concerns you have, it needs to fit your budget as well. For people who are not worried as much about cost as they are quality of care, a PPO is often the right choice. PPOs offer greater flexibility and choice of doctor. If cost is the driving factor in your decision, HMOs can be a great fit for your needs. While you do have to choose between doctors within the HMO’s in-network plan, many of those are good doctors, and many HMO policyholders are happy with their health insurance.