Health insurance may be one of the most important purchases you ever make for your family. No one ever plans on getting seriously ill or suffering a major injury, but it happens anyway. When it does, having the right health insurance makes a huge difference. Since you will be paying for your insurance every month and whenever you use it, spend some time comparing your options and finding out how you can get the best rates.
With the health insurance marketplace, it is much easier to compare different rates and plans than it was before. Although the marketplace is mainly designed to make it easier to compare government plans, private insurers are listed as well. During the open enrollment period, you can log on, enter your family information, and learn about private and government health insurance plans that are available to you. Use this information to compare marketplace options and options offered by your employer.
Before it’s time to sign up for your health insurance, make sure that you are as healthy as possible. If you are married, your spouse’s health may also affect your health insurance rates, so make it a family goal. Smokers often pay significantly higher health insurance rates than non-smokers. Quite a few employers do health assessments in which they look at your lifestyle, your blood work, your weight, and other factors to decide how much of a health risk you are. The healthier you are, the lower your insurance rates may be. Kick the smoking habit, start an exercise routine, and try to eat a few more vegetables each day.
Figure Out Where You Can Spend More
Generally, health insurance plans involve spending more money at one end of the care process. Either you pay a higher amount upfront for your premium or you pay more for your deductible. Paying higher premiums may offer you a lower deductible, which is helpful if you know that you are likely to have lots of health expenses. If you don’t anticipate using your health insurance often, it may be worth it to gamble with a higher deductible plan. In that case, however, try to put some money aside in case you do end up having to use your health insurance.
Think About What You Really Need
It can be intimidating to look up the benefits that come with each health insurance plan, but doing so can help you avoid spending money on benefits you don’t need. For example, if you go to therapy once a week and take psychiatric medications, you know that you should watch out for a plan with excellent mental health benefits. On the other hand, you may not need a plan with superb specialty care coverage if you are young and relatively healthy. Think about the conditions your family has to deal with can help you choose a more personalized plan.
Use a Flex Account
Lots of health insurance plans come with a flex spending option. This does not directly impact your insurance costs, but it may affect the amount of money you spent on health care expenses throughout the year. Through your employer, you decide how much money you want to be taken out from your paycheck each week for a flex account. This money is tax-free. You can then use the money to pay for eligible medical expenses and procedures.
Health insurance doesn’t have to be stressful and expensive. Start planning now for your 2016 health insurance expenses and feel prepared when open enrollment starts.
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