10 Ways To Reduce Health Insurance Costs
Looking for ways to reduce health insurance and health care costs? After all, who wouldn’t want to pay less money for the same (or better) health care? Here are ten ways to reduce health insurance premium costs but keep you just as protected.
1. Quit smoking or using nicotine of any kind – Smoking and chewing tobacco drives up insurance costs astronomically because they are proven health risks. When you quit using nicotine products, you will not only feel better and be healthier long-term, but you will see your health insurance costs drop drastically.
2. Lose weight – Obesity is an ever-increasing concern with health insurance companies, as it can lead to health problems like high cholesterol and diabetes, as well as back, hip, and knee problems. Many health insurance companies offer discounts if you are participating in a fitness program or will simply lower your rates as they see your weight drop.
3. Higher deductible – The most obvious way to lower health insurance costs is to assume a higher deductible. This takes some of the burden off the insurance company, allowing them to charge less for your premiums.
4. Higher co-pay – Along with taking a higher deductible, assuming a higher co-payment amount will help the insurance company to reduce your premium. Instead of paying $20 per doctor visit, see if there is a plan for $30 per visit, or more. Using old records, evaluate your experience with office calls to see if you will save enough on your monthly premium to make spending a little more at each appointment worthwhile.
5. Keep diabetes in check – Having regular blood work done to check for diabetes is essential to save on insurance costs. These routine check-ups can also offer the added benefit of getting proper medical attention if something does surface that you weren’t expecting or didn’t notice. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and fitness program can also help lower your rate. If you can keep your diabetes in check without medication, the insurance company does not have to pay for supplies, which means lower premium costs to you.
6. Improve your credit score – Many insurance companies actually pull your FICO score in order to determine what your premiums will be. Improving your credit scores will prove your responsibility and show the insurance companies you are a good investment.
7. Open an FSA or HAS – These are medical savings accounts, basically money pools you create by depositing ‘before tax’ income on a regular basis. Then you can withdraw funds from the account for medical expenses whenever necessary without spending out of pocket. This can include anything from office calls, to prescriptions, to over-the-counter allergy medicines. Because this is a ‘before taxes’ account, it saves you money right up front. These accounts are a smart place to keep money, tax free, to pay for your deductible and co-payments, as well as medical and health related supplies.
8. Buy generic – Generic medications – even those that are over-the-counter – cost much less to produce and to distribute, then the savings are passed on to you. Many insurance policies no longer cover name brand drugs anyway, so if you want the well-known ‘label,’ you’ll pay the extra cost right out of your pocket.
9. Use walk in clinics – Walk in health clinics, or ‘retail clinics’ have become popular in nearly every city across the country. You’ll find clinics in malls, drug stores and even in large retail outlets. These clinics offer simple services like vaccines, routine checkups and even blood work, all without an appointment or the hefty price tag of most doctor’s offices. Check their rates and compare to your primary physicians office – You may be surprised what you could save.
10. Use urgent care clinics – Urgent care clinics are similar to an emergency room, but without most of the specialized equipment. These clinics are better suited to everyday emergencies, like those requiring x-rays, bandages and stitches, but not for surgeries or major, life-threatening situations. This means that with these types of needs, your wait time will be much shorter at a clinic rather than the ER. Plus, most times these smaller clinics are much cheaper than going to a full emergency room and have a lower co-payment because they bill as a clinic instead of an emergency care facility.
When you’re looking for ways to cut health care costs, put these ten ideas to work to help trim your budget and continue to get the care you need!