3 Easy Ways to Save on Health Insurance
There are three simple ways to lower your monthly premiums and save on health care costs. Consider each of these as you evaluate your health insurance quotes.
1. Switch to a deductible plan
Many people on high cost copayment plans and other types of rich benefit medical coverage find incredible health insurance savings by changing to coverage that includes a deductible. Often, you can cut your premiums in half or nearly in half simply by changing to a plan with a deductible. Many times, the savings from changing is equal to or greater than the actual deductible. To learn more, check out our Health Insurance Tips.
Before switching to a deductible plan, bear in mind the types of services you need most and how often you need them. Switching is ideal if you mostly go in for doctor visits or get prescriptions, as most of the standard deductible policies include these benefits on a discounted copayment basis, without a deductible. So, if that’s mostly what you need, then, switching could give you affordable premiums and low out-of-pockets for the services you need, for a win-win situation. On the other hand, if you have frequent, expensive, or ongoing medical services, then you might save on health insurance a bit more in the long run by staying on your non-deductible policy.
2. Increase your deductible
If you are on a plan with a lower deductible, switching to coverage with a higher deductible will usually lower your medical insurance rates. Be sure to get a quote first, as sometimes, higher deductible options can cost more if they have broader benefits or lower maximum out-of-pockets.
Having a higher deductible policy will incur greater risk should a catastrophe occur and you are hit with expensive healthcare costs, but many find that the savings on health insurance from increasing the deductible more than makes up for the greater risk.
3. Change your carrier
If you find that with your current medical provider, rates seem to be seriously going up each year or even each quarter, that's a sign that you may need to switch carriers in order to save on health insurance premiums. Some providers do what is called pooling. Each quarter, those who apply are placed into a pool of members that applied during that quarter. They are not entered into the entire collection of members with that carrier, but rather a smaller pool of people who applied at a certain time. Health insurance rates increase as that small pool of members incurs greater and greater medical care costs. No new people are being added to the pool. Instead, the healthy people that can get coverage elsewhere are leaving the provider so that pool of people gets an increasingly sick population. The more the healthy people leave and the more the remaining sick people add cost to the carrier, the more the carrier will increase rates for people in the pool, until most people leave because they just can't afford it anymore. Providers that do pooling offer very attractive rates on the front end, but medical insurance prices tend to get out of control over time.
If you are with a carrier that uses this pooling model, we recommend switching now before rates get too high and definitely before you acquire a pre-existing health condition that would make it impossible for you to get coverage elsewhere. Kaiser Permanente does not use this pooling model. All new and existing members are placed into the same group, so price increases are modest. In the long run, you will save on medical insurance costs by choosing a carrier that does not do pooling.