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:
In order to save money on your health insurance plan, pay attention to changes in policy before you renew each year. This can save you from encountering unexpected charges because of a change in benefits. If significant changes have occurred in your plan, it could be more cost effective to switch to a new one.
When considering a health care insurance plan from your employer, be sure to take advantage of any plan that allows you to put aside certain amounts of pre-tax money from your paycheck. This is beneficial because you can save money by not paying taxes on income that is used for items that you will already be purchasing such as contacts or medical supplies.
Medical insurance is something that everyone really should purchase. You never know if you are going to get very sick, and the last thing you need when you don’t feel well, is to now owe a huge bill to a doctor that you may or may not be able to afford.
Stay in your health care network, or be prepared for frustration. Health insurance companies sometimes provide strict limits on which doctors you can see and when. If you go outside of their network, to a doctor they do not have listed, they may refuse to pay for it. If they will pay for it, it may be a fiasco to get them to.
If you are generally healthy, but need health insurance that will cover you in case of an accident or sudden hospitalization, consider getting catastrophic health insurance. It has very low payments. Even though the deductible is usually quite high, the limit of payout is also high – sometimes as much as $3,000,000.
When thinking about getting a health insurance plan, not many people think of using a broker to get them the best policy. These brokers can find insurance companies that are well suited to an individual, get the best rates offered, and will be there to explain all the aspects of a particular health plan.
You may want to consider a health savings plan. This is perfect for someone who doesn’t have to go to the doctor all that often. It also works great if you have a high deductible. You save money in your account each month and then if you do need it, it is there for you to use.
To lower the cost of your health insurance plan, pay your premiums annually. Most insurance companies add on a service charge to each monthly payment you make. If you pay annually, you can often reduce or omit these service charges. In addition to the cost savings, paying annually means you only have to budget for health insurance costs once per year.
If you are going with a private insurance plan you should talk to your doctor about conditions in your file to make sure everything is up to date. Private insurances have the option of going back, up to 10 years to check your medical files for conditions you had prior to getting insurance through their company.
Make sure you know what kind of inpatient treatment your health insurance covers before you end up in the hospital. If your insurance doesn’t cover a private room, then you should be prepared to either share or pay for the room yourself. They also may not cover other aspects of your care, such as an ICU room, so know before you go.
If you sign up for an insurance plan with a Health Spending Account, it will afford you lower premiums with a higher deductible. Take the money you’re saving from the lower premiums and put it into your HSA – it will grow in a tax-deferred environment, and when you turn 65 you can withdraw the money you didn’t spend and use it as you wish!
Keep an itemized list of all your medical expenses and health insurance payments. Even if you’re not self-employed, you may be able to deduct at least some of them on your income tax. Co-payments, dentist visits and treatment, deductibles, premiums and uncovered health spending, can all be deductible, so be sure to check with an accountant.
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.