Megan L. Mahan
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation-sponsored survey, health premiums have jumped 73 percent since the year 2000, outpacing the rate of inflation by 3.5 percent.
To handle these rising costs, employers are shifting more healthcare costs to employees-causing employees to dig a little deeper to compensate for deductibles, office visits and prescription drugs. And, worse yet, some companies are eliminating the benefit altogether.
The Good News
If this strikes a chord with you, you're not alone. The upside? You don't have to take health coverage hikes lying down! More and more consumers are learning that there are ways to maintain adequate health insurance without
breaking the bank.
You can deflate your premium by doing the following:
Shop around. Even if your employer offers group coverage, you may be able to get a more affordable rate through a separate insurer. Compare multiple prices and policies to find a policy that protects your health--and your wallet.
Increase your deductible. Increasing the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks is a great way to see a colossal drop in your premium. Just remember to choose a deductible you can afford so as not to jeopardize your finances if you need to file a claim.
Ask about discounts. You may be eligible for discounts on health coverage if you belong to certain groups or associations. Ask your insurer about their discount programs and eligibility requirements.
Omit extra coverages. If you find yourself in a financial bind, you can usually drop extra coverages like vision and mental health without great risk or complication. You can reinsert these coverages once you are more financially comfortable.
Check into other group coverage. Alumni associations, fraternal organizations and professional groups are often eligible to purchase small group policies. Contact your affiliated organizations to see if there are any savings from which you can benefit.
If you've exhausted the tips above and are still financially unable to purchase health insurance, it's important to remember that there may still be options available to you.
Many state programs have recently expanded their eligibility requirements for state-assisted care, making it easier for consumers to find individual and family health coverage. To learn about the programs and eligibility requirements in your state, contact your local division of insurance. or Winter-Park
As the cost of health care continues to rise, health insurance remains a key component to sustaining your access to proper medical care. Use the tips above to maximize your health coverage-without draining your bank account!
InsureMe, an Englewood, Colorado-based company, links agents nationwide with consumers shopping for insurance. Specializing in auto, home, life, long-term care and health insurance quotes, the InsureMe network provides thousands of agents with insurance leads every year. For more information, visit www.InsureMe.com.