How to Keep Health Insurance Rates under Control
In less than twenty years, health care costs have more than tripled from $714 billion in 1990 to $2.3 trillion in 2008. Going back to 1980, when health care costs were $253 billion, health care costs have increased nine-fold. Over the same time period, wage increases have failed to keep up with inflation, resulting in a decrease of spending power for the average American. If this wasn’t bad enough, signs indicate the worst may still lay ahead with several news outlets reporting that many health insurance rates are being raised 25-40% this year alone. To put a dent in these national trends for your own health care costs, you need to do all you can to seek out ways to keep your own health insurance rates under control, including finding cheaper insurance options and reducing the risk you present to insurance companies.
Reducing Health Insurance Rates for Employee-Based Coverage
Health care isn’t just the third rail of politics; it’s also a dangerous area to tread for employers. Standing in front of employees and announcing a change to employees’ health insurance plans –any change –is likely to create tension and confusion in the workplace. Some employers have failed to address the rising cost of health insurance and health care for so long that their business can no longer afford the cost. Some unscrupulous companies have even been canceling health benefits without informing employees.
Rather than worry about whether your employer will continue to provide you and your co-workers with health insurance next year, you may be in a position to take a proactive approach to reduce health insurance rates. Ask your employer if he or she has shopped for health insurance policies lately or talked to your current insurer about reducing insurance risks. More and more insurance companies are offering insurance discounts to employers with wellness programs and initiatives ranging from gym memberships to quit smoking programs. Simply calling up your health insurance company and asking what steps can be taken to lower your group’s insurance risk in exchange for discounted premiums can yield surprising results.
Reducing Health Insurance Rates on the Individual Market
It’s hardly news to anyone that health insurance costs are higher on the individual market than the employer-based market. Some of this higher cost is a natural function of insurance; the larger the group, the cheaper it is to provide insurance and manage costs. But another reason, often underappreciated, for the higher cost on the individual market is that many people try to game the system by only seeking out health insurance when they need it. On the other hand, it’s equally hard for the average, healthy American family to justify spending hundreds of extra dollars a month for health insurance when they’re already just barely scraping by. Thus, the best way to reduce your health insurance rates is to demonstrate to your insurance company that you’re in good health and need only the traditional protection that insurance creates. For people with serious health conditions and lapsed insurance coverage, there are few good answers. Your best bet is to ask insurance companies about high-risk insurance pools that are available in your state.
To keep your own health insurance costs under control, you need to be diligent in soliciting quotes from as many companies as you can. Talk to insurance agents and drill down into a number of different deductible and coverage limits that match your current and anticipated health care needs. Still, only so much can be done in wringing lower costs from insurance companies. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the administrative costs, taxes, and profits of private health plans have held steady at about 12 percent of premiums over the last 40 years.
Reducing Health Insurance Costs with the Internet
That said, online health insurance quotes have been one of the few significant ways health insurers have been able to reduce their administrative costs. This more efficient method of matching people with insurance companies reduces the need for high commission-based health insurance brokers that used to skim off the top as much as 15% of premium costs. You can still get the information you need as a consumer and many insurance agents are still paid on commission, but the culture of high-pressure sales tactics and higher overhead costs has been scaled back significantly. This is the exact advantage that we deliver at NetQuote. Fill out our quick and easy online form, and you being discussing ways of reducing your health insurance costs with available insurers today.