How to Lower Your Health Insurance Premiums

The average monthly health insurance cost is now close to $500. It’s a small wonder many Americans are looking to reduce their premiums.

It’s easy to conclude that they’re just a fact of life, and there’s little we can do to reduce them. But actually, there are some things that all of us can do to make them more affordable.

Let’s look at how to lower your health insurance premiums.

Make Lifestyle Changes

A recent study found that many Americans would gladly make lifestyle changes to reduce their health insurance cost. In fact, the study found that one-third of Americans would agree to 24/7 personal monitoring! All in the name of reducing their premiums.

While this kind of monitoring may be something for the future, there are changes you can make now to reduce your premiums.

Quit Smoking

Most insurers do tobacco rating for their insurance policies. This is only prohibited in 4 states and the District of Columbia. Smokers can pay as much as 50% more for their insurance policy.

This could provide an extra incentive to people who are struggling to quit smoking! Not only will your general health improve, but you should also benefit from lower health insurance premiums.

Lose Weight

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not allow insurers to charge higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions. However, obesity does not come under this category.

Insurers use a person’s BMI to calculate their insurance premiums. If their BMI is higher than 30, they can charge up to 50% more than for someone with a BMI in the healthy range.

Losing weight to bring your weight under 30 on the BMI scale will have health benefits. It may also help you to reduce your premiums when renewals come around.

Shop Around

For many people, affordable health insurance is out there, but it just takes a lot of homework. If this is overwhelming, consider getting an insurance broker to help you find the right health insurance for you.

Consider Using a Health Insurance Broker

A health insurance broker can view coverage from many insurers. It gives you an opportunity to discuss your specific needs so that they can find an insurer that provides the right level of coverage.

Check Your Tax Credits

Family and personal circumstances may change from year to year, as do government regulations. It’s important to check each year that you are receiving the correct amount of tax credit for your situation.

Check Prescription Drug Coverage

If you take prescription drugs regularly, check where each insurer stands on those drugs before choosing a policy. Some pharmaceutical companies may have a program for lower-income patients that you can benefit from. Discuss this with your pharmacist.

Generic medications may also be available at a lower cost. This is an important part of your research, as lower premiums may mean higher out-of-pocket costs.

Use Doctors Within the Network

If you choose to visit doctors who are not in your insurance network, you will probably have to pay the costs in full. While it can be frustrating to change doctors, using doctors within the network will keep costs down.

Alternatively, if you want to ensure that you can see a particular doctor, choose coverage with an insurer that includes them.

What If I’m in a Group Health Plan?

Depending on the size of your company and your relationship with your employer, you may be able to discuss reducing premiums with them.

It may surprise employers when they consult employees. Certain coverage options may actually be unpopular or unnecessary. Reducing these options may dramatically reduce premiums.

Carefully Consider Changing Categories

Many purchase their health insurance through the ACA marketplace. If you do, you can consider the advantages of changing coverage.

There are three ‘metal’ categories – Gold, Silver, and Bronze. Gold provides the highest level of coverage, with low costs for care and fewer deductibles.

Silver is the moderate level of cover and Bronze is the lowest. The premiums follow the same pattern. Gold is the most expensive, Silver has a moderate monthly premium, and Bronze is the cheapest.

If you’re in excellent health and rarely need medical services, then Bronze may be suitable for you. However, if you want to qualify for cost-sharing reductions such as premium tax credits, you must choose the Silver plan.

This is a risky option, but would reduce the monthly cost of your health insurance. However, if you needed unexpected medical care, your costs would be higher.

Raise Your Deductible

To lower your health insurance premiums, the simplest way is to raise your deductible. What this means is that you will pay a lower premium each month, but if the time comes that you need care, you will have to contribute more.

Health insurance deductions are the amount you pay before your insurance plan pays. If you choose a higher deductible plan, make sure that you have the funds to cover it.

A High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) is often combined with a health savings account (HSA). This account allows you to save money that’s free from federal taxes to use towards your healthcare. This can help to reduce some risks of having a plan with a higher deductible.

Cut Out Unnecessary Doctor’s Visits

There are many things we do to keep ourselves healthy, but the fact is all of us get sick from time to time. Some of these sicknesses require a visit to the doctor’s office, but there are many that respond well to over-the-counter medication.

For example, a mild fever or a cold may pass within a couple of days with medication we can purchase ourselves. There is no need in such cases to consult a doctor. The same with minor stomach ailments.

However, if conditions continue, it’s essential to seek medical advice. Do your research, and don’t take chances if a condition is becoming more serious or lasting for longer than expected.

The Bottom Line: Lowering Health Insurance Premiums

Health insurance premiums are a significant monthly cost for most Americans. Shop around, choose the right level of coverage for your situation, and keep yourself as healthy as possible. Doing this will help you keep costs manageable.

At Central Jersey Insurance Associates, we help New Jersey residents find the right insurance coverage for them.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you find the right healthcare insurance.