Tips for Saving on Health Insurance

Health insurance is becoming more expensive everyday. But the good news is there are still ways for saving on health insurance that are right for you.

While you're looking to save money on your health insurance, there are ways to save without sacrificing the needs of your medical coverage.

Being an informed shopper will empower you to find the right health insurance company and policy that fits your needs and budget.

If you're not cautious, you might end up sacrificing some important benefits, you have to be certain that if you become seriously ill, you are adequately protected.

5 ways to accomplish saving on health insurance

1. Increase your deductible. A good thing to keep in mind is that insurance is supposed to protect against a serious catastrophe, not pay for regular health maintenance costs. The more you agree to pay for services out of pocket in the form of deductibles and co-payments, the less you'll end up paying in premiums. You're not paying for the doctors' visits you never needed to go to, or services you won't use. A 25-year-old woman that increased her deductible from $2,000 to $2,850 cut her monthly premiums by 18 percent.

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A lot of high-deductible plans are paired with health savings accounts (HSAs), which allow you to contribute pre-taxed dollars. Both employer and employee can add to the account. Until the deductible is met, any health care expenses are paid out of the HSA.

2. Shop for private insurance. Buying private health insurance can be cheaper than an employer-sponsored plan. A healthy, 30-year-old male could pay as little as $37 a month with a private policy. That's $250 a year less than the average employee pays for individual coverage. On the other hand, someone with a pre-existing condition might pay upwards of $2,500 a year for private insurance − five times the cost of the company plan.

Shopping for inexpensive private insurance requires a substantial commitment of both time and effort. Every insurer can set its own requirements within the confines of state regulations. This variation makes for a complex web of options, many of which hinge on the results of a physical exam.

3. Juggle family coverage. Spouses need to take a close look at both of their plans to determine which offers the best coverage for the kids. It is important to crunch the numbers to see if you'd be better off with everyone on one plan, or if you should split coverage. If only one spouse is employed, shop around for private insurance too. It may be cheaper to keep one adult on the company plan, and buy a private family plan for the other partner and the children.

4. Reassess employer options. Nearly 60 percent of employers offer options for at least two plans. It's important to reassess your needs each year, even though one plan may have covered your health-care needs in the past. Some life decisions like starting a family or getting some major dental work may make another plan a much more attractive option in the upcoming year. Here are two factors to consider while weighing your options.

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Health care is increasingly moving toward managed networks of physicians and facilities. Check that you aren't unnecessarily paying a higher premium because your plan allows you a choice of physician. If your doctor is already in network and your lab is already in network, you might not care about having more choices to go out of network.

The more benefits available to you, the more you'll pay. Your premiums reflect as if you're using that benefit every single month. If you're reasonably sure you won't need coverage for immunizations, maternity expenses or orthodontics in the coming year, switching to a plan that requires you to pay more out of pocket for such services or doesn't cover them at all) could work in your favor.

5. Get healthy. It may seem obvious that losing weight or quitting smoking will reduce the number of visits to a doctor, but it can also dramatically cut insurance costs. More than 70 percent of employers currently offer financial incentives to those who participate in company wellness initiatives.

While some companies are rewarding good behavior, others are penalizing those who refuse to give up their bad habits. PepsiCo charges smokers $100 more annually for insurance coverage. And media company Tribune recently began tacking on a monthly premium surcharge of $100 for workers who use tobacco products.

Learn how easy and convenient shopping for health insurance can be.