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The cost of healthcare in the United States has been a national issue that has taken the spotlight in political discussions for many years now. Unfortunately, the issue does not seem to be improving anytime soon. Health insurance is currently a requirement. Therefore, you may pay a hefty penalty on your taxes if you and your dependents are not properly insured throughout the year. However, health insurance can cost a small fortune. You may be wondering how you can make this expense more affordable. After all, health insurance premiums are only one aspect of health care expenses that you are responsible for. By learning how to save on health insurance, you can take control of this expense and get the coverage and health services that you and your loved ones need.
How to Save on Health Insurance
Understanding how to save on health insurance is a top priority. It doesn’t matter what type of coverage you need or what your current financial situation is. You can easily learn how to save on health insurance in different ways. Therefore, you can afford to purchase health insurance for everyone in your family.
1. Compare Rates on the Health Insurance Marketplace
Currently, the Health Insurance Marketplace is one of your best resources if you want to know how to save on health insurance. Regardless of how you personally feel about “Obamacare,” the reality is that this is one of the most affordable health insurance options available for many people. There are various levels of coverage available from some of the most reputable insurers in the country. Each plan is unique. Therefore, be sure to compare the coverages as well as the rates if you want to find the right policy for you and your family.
2. Take Advantage of the Tax Credit
The government currently provides a tax credit for low-income households when you purchase health insurance through the marketplace. If you want to know how to save on health insurance, it is important that you try to qualify for the tax credit on the marketplace website. If you do qualify for a credit, the credit will be immediately applied to your premium. This means that you can enjoy a pro-rated level of savings on a monthly basis for the tax credit. That is opposed to receiving a lump sum tax credit at the end of the year.
3. Notify the Marketplace If Your Income or Household Occupants Change
Your ability to qualify for the tax credit will change if your income level changes. Or if the number of people in your home changes. If either of these factors shifts throughout the year, you should notify the marketplace immediately. They need to adjust your tax credit and premium. If you fail to take this step, the credit may be adjusted in your favor at the end of the tax year. It will be as a credit on your tax return. On the other hand, the credit may work against you. Therefore, you may wind up owing more money in taxes at the end of the year when you file your federal income tax return.
4. Determine How You Plan to Use the Coverage
There are various types of health insurance coverage available. Therefore, it is important to determine how you plan to use the coverage before shop for different plans. The total cost of your insurance includes your premium as well as your co-pays, deductible, and other related expenses.
You want the premium to be affordable each month. However, you may also need very affordable co-pays. You or your family members may have regular doctor appointments or a pre-existing medical condition. In some cases, it is more affordable to opt for a higher premium with more affordable co-pays and better overall coverage.
You should also ensure that the services or medications you take are covered. These factors can play a major role in your total medical expenses over the course of a year.
5. Choose a Higher Deductible
Likewise, you should examine the deductible on your insurance policy. That is if you want to know how to save on health insurance. Your deductible is the amount of money you need to pay out of pocket before the benefits kick in. If you only plan to use the coverage once or twice per year, a very high deductible with a low premium may make sense. After all, with limited use of the policy, you may not reach the deductible regardless of what it is set at. On the other hand, if you have surgeries or other medical events planned in the near future, choosing a low deductible policy may make better sense financially.
6. Consider Your Co-Pays
Some people with children or an on-going medical condition may visit the doctor once, twice or more per month. This means that co-pays become a regular part of your budget each month. You want to make your co-pay expense manageable if this is the case. Therefore, the co-pay amounts become just as important in your budget as the premium. A smart idea is to review how many co-pays you paid within the last six months. In this way, you can determine an average number of doctor visits per month.
7. Choose a Policy With Fully Covered Well-Checks
Your health insurance cost plays a direct role in your overall health costs. Therefore, it makes sense to choose a policy that fully pays for your well-checks. Each member of your family may benefit from a well-check each year. Some health insurance policies do not require you to pay a co-pay for these types of visits. With this in mind, you can save money overall when you choose a policy that fully covers your well-checks.
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8. Get a New Job
You could get your health insurance through the marketplace or through a private insurance plan. However, you could also get coverage through your workplace. Depending on the size of the company, your employer may be required to offer you a group insurance plan. Each plan offered by employers is unique. If you have been thinking about changing jobs for other reasons, the ability to upgrade your health insurance plan while doing so can be an added benefit.
9. Get Married
If you have been involved in a committed relationship for a while, getting married may be a smart option to consider if you want to know how to save money on health insurance. One member of the couple may have a great employer-sponsored plan that the other person can get on after getting married. If not, family coverage is often cheaper per person than individual coverage through the marketplace. Saving money on health insurance is not a primary reason to get married/ However, it can be an added benefit if all other factors are in place.
Understanding how to save on health insurance is a priority for some people for financial reasons, and it is a veritable necessity for others who urgently need access to affordable healthcare services. If you have been wondering how to save on health insurance, consider how some of these ideas may benefit you in the months to come.