Making a major decision such as purchasing health insurance requires thorough consideration of personal requirements and financial commitment. Although many employers offer benefits meetings where the health insurance options are explained, there is no way the facilitators can encompass each and every particular need for all employees on an individual basis.
They are unaware of the specific health care needs of each household. You know what you and your family need, so here are three tips to make sure you don’t get ripped off and get the best bargain on health insurance coverage:
Consider the short term foreseeable health needs of your household
Learning how to save on health insurance costs means first understanding your current health situation. If your family is relatively healthy and will use your health insurance coverage mainly for preventative services such as annual physicals, a low cost option with a higher deductible is all you may need. Then, major unforeseen health crises are covered, if necessary, but you don’t pay for additional coverage you likely won’t use.
Conversely, if there are members of the household who will require many medical services, you should buy into a plan that costs more in monthly premiums, but which offers more comprehensive coverage and lower out of pocket expenses during the course of long term treatments.
Utilize pre-tax savings and employer sponsored options to maximize health benefits
If you choose a plan with a higher deductible to save on the premiums, you can take advantage of pre-tax savings by funneling a portion of your pay into a Flexible Spending Account to use for paying qualified health expenses that come from your pocket. Also, your employer may offer a Healthcare Reimbursement Account for employees, which you also use for medical expenses.
For instance, if you allocate $2,500 per year to an FSA account, and your employer has a family HRA of $1,000 a year, with a family deductible of $4,000, you have $3,500 available to pay the majority of that amount.
Consider special provisions
Some plans offer provisions for special circumstances. For example, you may need to visit a particular neurologist on a regular basis, but this practitioner is out of network with the most budget friendly health plan that will meet all your other needs. If there is a shortage of neurologists in your area, the plan you want may pay this doctor as an in network provider because of the shortage, which prevents you from using another neurologist who may already be in network.