Tips for Buying Health Insurance
In 2018, the National Patient Advocate Foundation revealed that “1 in 5 American Families will struggle to pay a medical bill this year.” As reported by the 2019 enrollment report, 11.4 million Americans selected or were automatically re-enrolled in an Exchange plan during the 2019 Open Enrollment Period in the 50 states, plus DC. This is a decrease from 11.8 million consumers during the 2018 OEP. Perhaps it’s due in part to the many reports about how healthcare is changing under Trumpcare or the rising costs of proper coverage. No matter who is in office come next year, people are thinking twice about their future healthcare plans, and how they can lower costs. Here are a few pointers on how you can find the best affordable health insurance, no matter what happens next election!
Lower Premiums May Not Be the Most Affordable Option
While it may feel like choosing the health care plan with the lowest premium will give you the most bang for your buck, you shouldn’t base your decisions on the premium; base your decision on how much you’re getting out of your plan! For example, if you’re in optimal health, and need little care, a lower premium and higher deductible policy would be the best option for you. When considering a switch to another health insurance provider, take a look at the sum amount that you’ve spent during that term. This can include everything from appointments and medications to preventative care and emergency visits.
Tip: You can get an idea of what kind of subsidy you may qualify for by using a tool like the Online health care subsidy calculator.
Be Wary of Your Healthcare Costs
Before you pay that medical bill, you may want a second opinion. In March 2016 CNBC reported that “While the American Medical Association estimated that 7.1% of paid claims in 2013 contained an error, a 2014 NerdWallet study found mistakes in 49% of Medicare claims. Groups that review bills on patients’ behalf, including Medical Billing Advocates of America and CoPatient, put the error rate closer to 75 or 80%.” It’s not a secret that errors in medical billing can happen, but did you have any idea that it happened so often?
When you receive a bill you should:
- Check that the charges are for the services provided
- There’s nothing ambiguous listed on the statement
- That the claim was submitted and processed by your insurance company.
- Compare the cost you’re billed versus the insurance claims.
- File it away in case needed in the future
Tip: Check if your doctor is charging you for the balance left over after they’ve been reimbursed from the insurance company. This act is called ‘balance billing,’ and certain states have laws against it. Always check to see if you legally have to pay.
Take Advantage Of Health Insurance Plan Discounts
Nowadays, companies are encouraging those on their health insurance plans to utilize fitness trackers. Ask a licensed insurance agent or your employee benefits manager about plans that give discounts for these types of incentives.
Tip: You might be able to access a discount through many different routes, such as through your employer, any clubs or associations that you belong to, or your bank. Never hurts to educate yourself on what you can get for a discount!
Do away with Unnecessary Perks
It’s often the case that if you seek out a good quality base plan, you don’t need to add on all of the costly extras that can end up contributing a large portion of the final price. When something is labelled as an ‘extra,’ it is probably non-essential, and will only come in handy in specific situations.
See If Your Household Qualifies For Advantages
For those who are under the age of 26 or are still at university, it might be possible to receive coverage from their parents’ health coverage plan. Similarly, those under the age of 30 can benefit from different options that are open to them, usually done to attract them as valuable lifetime customers. Otherwise, families and those with long term spouses receive certain advantages, with many premiums tailored to their needs.