Struggling to pay health insurance premiums? It’s no surprise. The average American spent $3,852 on premiums alone in 2016, notes CNBC. And if you have a high deductible, you may be spending thousands more. In fact, the amount spent to meet deductibles was around $4,358, so that’s a whopping $8,210 for the year, CNBC adds.
Health insurance is one of those expenses that you may not want to deal with but can’t afford to live without. Imagine having a medical emergency that warrants a trip to the emergency room. If you’re admitted, you’ll rack up thousands in medical expenses. Even worse, 100 percent of the burden will fall on you if you don’t have health insurance.
The good news is there are several ways to curb health insurance costs. Read on to learn more.
Be proactive about your health
Does your self-care regimen take factors that could improve your health into consideration? This includes proper nighttime routines, nutrition, and exercise. If not, you could be dealing with medical issues, like high blood, that are driving the costs of your premiums up.
Review your current policy
When was the last time you read through the policy documents? If it’s been awhile (or if you enrolled without thinking twice) take a moment to review the policy details. You may find that your policy is too extensive or you’re paying for coverage you don’t need.
Increase your deductible
Your deductible is the amount you’re responsible for before your insurance kicks in. Most range from $500 to $2,000 and the higher the deductible, the lower the premiums. Why so? It’s all a matter of risk on the insurer’s behalf.
So considering increasing your deductible to cut costs. But only do so if you have the funds on hand should a medical emergency arise and you’re forced to file a claim. Otherwise, you may have to the pay the total cost of the bill out of pocket.
Consider after hours or on-call nurses
If you find yourself coming down with minor illnesses often, on-call nurses could be a godsend. Call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card to learn more. Most providers have Registered Nurses standing by to help.
Make a lump sum payment
Some insurance companies extend discounts to customers who make lump-sum payments. You may be able to pay annually, semi-annually or quarterly for your coverage. If this option is available to you but you’re strapped for cash, consider borrowing the funds. Online options, like Lightstream personal loans, can help you access the cash you need.
Consider a Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you’re already enrolled in a high-deductible plan, look into a Health Savings Account (HSA). Contributions are pre-tax and decrease your taxable income. (The annual limit is $3,400). HSAs are available through some employers and most financial institutions. The funds can apply to out-of-pocket medical expenses. And unused balances rolls over to the following year.
Hire a broker
Still no luck? Hire a health insurance broker to help you navigate the murky insurance waters. You’ll have to wait until open enrollment to change plans. But they can get the ball rolling on finding the most competitive policies well in advance.
The bottom line
Failing to carry health insurance may save money in the short-term since you won’t have to pay premiums. Yet, it’ll cost you a ton at tax time or if you experience a medical emergency and need care. But by implementing these tips, you can cut the impact on your wallet each month. Even better, you can lower the risk of incurring hefty medical bills.