Health Insurance - What Affects Premiums?
Here are some ways you can control your health insurance costs:
- Many plans offer a menu of options. Regularly review your situation, and adjust your options to meet changing needs.
- Stay in your network as much as possible, making sure to obtain referrals as required.
- Many plans require pre-certification for certain tests and procedures. Know your plan, and comply with these requirements to avoid paying penalties.
- Hold onto all receipts for medical services. An accident, out-of-town emergency room visit or unexpected illness might cause you to incur out-of-pocket expenses.
- Look beyond the monthly amount you must pay and closely evaluate covered services, co-pay requirements, deductibles and reimbursement levels so that you make the best choice for your family and your pocketbook.
- If you’re married and both spouses work at jobs that provide health insurance, compare these policies and costs to see which one best fits your needs.
- If your employer offers a flexible spending account you can set aside pretax dollars for medical expenses and childcare.
- Consider combining a high-deductible catastrophic plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA), which is a tax-sheltered savings account similar to the IRA, but earmarked for medical expenses. Deposits are 100 percent tax-deductible for the self-employed and can easily withdrawn by check or debit card to pay routine medical bills. Larger medical expenses are covered by a low-cost, high deductible health insurance policy. What is not used from the account each year stays in the account and continues to grow interest on a tax-favored basis to supplement retirement, just like an IRA. Employers are beginning to offer HSAs to their employees as a health insurance option.