8 Tips to Lower Health Insurance Rates

1.  “Insurance” defined.  Regardless of what you perceive health insurance should provide you, “insurance” is defined as a transfer of risk to another party of what you can’t (or don’t want to) pay out of your own pocket.  You may be able to afford $2000 per year, but don’t want to pay a $100,000 hospital bill.  Keep this in mind.  If you want your insurance plan to pay for EVERYTHING, you will actually be the one paying for EVERYTHING with higher premiums.

2.  Max out-of-pocket.  Determine what amount in a given year would make you uncomfortable to pay if an unforeseen medical expense would occur.  This is your starting point.  In other word, if you can afford $5000 per year in out of pocket expenses, but nothing more, then try to shop for plans that have max out-of-pocket limits of $5000 and below.

3.  Deductible.  You don’t need to have a low deductible if the premium rate is too high.  I would rather have a $2500 deductible versus a $500 deductible if I can save at least $2000 in annualized premiums.  Consider the premium savings when you look at the deductible choices.  What’s more is that some companies give more favorable ratings on pre-existing condition risk factors with deductibles of $2500 and higher.  The right agency will know who these companies are.

4.  HSA Eligible Plans for higher income families or self-employed.  If you have higher income or are self-employed and would like a bigger tax deduction, consider a Qualified High Deductible plan with HSA account.  HSA account contributions are tax-deductible and distributions for medical expenses are tax-free.  Self-employed persons can also deduct the premiums.  It doesn’t necessarily make sense if your tax rate is low, but for higher taxable incomes, the tax savings can be substantial.

5.  Consider HMOs.   If your doctors and hospitals participate and you travel infrequently, HMOs could save you up to 25%.  HMOs don’t provide out-of-network benefits, so be very careful to check the provider network in your area before choosing an HMO product.  You will also need to be VERY flexible with provider choice to make this type of plan work.

6.  Ditch the $5 per day “junk” plans.  These plans should not even classify as insurance.  Be very careful of plans that accept all pre-existing conditions and only cost $x per day.  Most of these plans cap your hospital benefit and annual benefit to very low maximums.  Remember, it’s not just about the doctors visit co-pay, but rather the catastrophic event that will cause us financial ruin.

7.  Use a local, independent agent. Provider networks vary greatly from one locality to another.  Does your agent know which insurance companies participate with the local hospitals, doctors and even specialty hospitals that are out of the area?  This is why you want to stay away from agencies that do all lines of insurance.  These agencies typically pick one company or product and quote everyone that product regardless of the client circumstances because they don’t have the time or expertise to know the market.

8.  Give Creekside Insurance Advisors, LLC a call.  Did you think we would give you all of this great advice without telling you how good we are?  It truly makes us happy to save you money!  Our Individual Products Team specializes in health insurance for individuals, families and the self-employed.  Our job is to help you find the best possible plan that fits within your budget.  Whether a VA or WV resident, we have all of the available plans and the lowest rates in both states.  Call 540.722.2529 / 800.467.5425 or go to www.creeksideadvisors.net for more information.

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