Individual and family health insurance rates have been steadily increasing. If you pay for individual health insurance, then you have noticed the increase in recent years. But there are some specific steps you can take to make your health insurance more affordable.
o Increase your major medical deductible. Since this portion of your policy is the least likely coverage to be used, often changing to a higher deductible will reduce the rate by hundreds of dollars per year. If you have more than three persons insured on the policy, the savings could possibly be thousands of dollars per year.
o Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA). Premiums are lower than most plans, and the tax-deduction of current medical expenses makes this option worth considering. Qualified dental and vision expenses will also be tax-deductible. In many parts of the country, UnitedHealthOne (formerly UnitedHealthCare), Aetna and Anthem offer extremely affordable rates.
o Notify your health insurer if any covered dependent is no longer living in the household and has obtained their own coverage. Often, the insurer does not know unless you tell them. The reduction in premium is likely to be between $40 and $90 per month.
o Utilize preventive coverages on your policy. Most individual health insurance plans include preventive benefits that may not be subject to a deductible. Mammograms, pap smears, Ob/Gyn visits and routine physicals are often provided. By utilizing these benefits, you may be reducing the risk of using other benefits that may have a higher out-of-pocket cost.
o Compare prices of other similar medical plans. If you have been with the same company for more than five years, it's possible that your rate has substantially increased. Assuming you do not have any major medical health conditions, it may be a good time to view online individual health insurance rates.
o Eliminate unneeded coverages. For example, if maternity benefits are no longer needed, and you are paying for the coverage, your individual health insurance rate could substantially reduce by dropping the coverage. Anthem, Humana and UnitedHealthOne offer maternity coverage, so it may be worthwhile to check that you are not paying for this benefit. Dental and vision riders, if not used, should also be eliminated.
o Lose weight or stop smoking! Your initial premium on your policy was based on overall health (including height/weight) and smoking status at the time you originally applied. If you have lost weight and/or stopped smoking, notify your current insurer. It's possible you may be able to reduce your current rate.
o If you are receiving Medicare benefits, then you should remove yourself from the policy. The monthly premium savings should be substantial.