You can find affordable health insurance in the private market!
In fact, let’s repeat that one, because a lot of people find it hard to believe: you can find affordable health insurance in the private market! Just because you’re getting health insurance as an individual instead of part of a group doesn’t mean you have to destroy your bank account every month. The secret is to realize that there’s not one magic bullet that can take health insurance from a giant money sink to just a small portion of your budget, but instead that there are a number of factors that will work together to make your health insurance affordable.
The first thing you should do is look into high deductible health plans. These insurance plans are a lot more simple than most types of health insurance: you have a deductible, and that’s about it. Before your deductible, you’re responsible for your medical costs. After your deductible, your insurance company will pay your bills. Simple! Because these plans don’t include a lot of bells and whistles (either you’re working on meeting your deductible or your insurance company is paying for everything), they’re affordable for the health insurance company – there’s just not a lot of stuff for them to worry about. That means that the savings are passed on to you, making high deductible health plans a very affordable form of health insurance.
If you decide to go with a high deductible health plan, making your health insurance more affordable is pretty simple. Raising your deductible will lower your monthly premiums, and lowering your deductible will raise them. One thing that you should always keep in mind when you’re looking at deductibles is how your particular insurance company defines a “family deductible.” Some companies will assign every family member an individual deductible, some will assign the family as a whole a deductible, and others will give individual deductibles but say that when either two or three family members meet them then the entire family’s deductible is considered met. Your agent will know how each individual company handles family deductibles.
The major thing that people worry about with high deductible health plans is the fact that office visits aren’t covered by a copay. In our dedicated article about HDHP’s we discuss why this isn’t as big an issue as many people think, but if an office visit copay is something you feel like you can’t live without then you still have ways to find affordable health insurance.
The first of these is to ask yourself how many times a year you actually go to the doctor. If it’s only three or four times, but you still really want a copay for those visits, then consider looking at limited copay plans. These plans offer comprehensive benefits and a copay for a certain number of office visits a year (usually two to six). The first few visits are covered by a copay, but after that you’ll be responsible for the full amount of your medical bills until you meet your deductible. Having a limited number of copays a year instead of an unlimited number will make your health insurance significantly more affordable.
The second big thing you can do is to raise your deductible. Having a slightly higher deductible can drastically lower your monthly premiums. This one is pretty self-explanatory: raising your deductible lowers the amount of financial risk the insurance company takes on, saving them money. Those savings are passed on to you in the form of more affordable health insurance.
The last thing is something you should do no matter what: work with an independent agent. There are no “broker’s fees” or anything like that when you work with an agent, so you’ll end up paying the same in premiums that you would going directly to the insurance company. And since independent agents work with several insurance companies, we know who has the best rates and best coverage for various situations. For instance, for the majority of people in Georgia, maybe Carrier A is the most affordable. But perhaps for people in a certain age range Carrier B has better rates, and for people with high blood pressure Carrier C has the most affordable premiums. Your agent, who will have the ability to shop around and work the system in your favor, will be able to find the most affordable health insurance premiums while not sacrificing coverage.
Affordable health insurance is out there, and now you know the easiest way to find it is to use an independent health insurance agent. Luckily, you’ve got an independent agent at your disposal right now! Head on over to our free health insurance quote page and find out just how much you could be saving!