With consumers looking for ways to save wherever they can in today’s economy, here are five tips from UnitedHealthcare’s Golden Rule Insurance Company to help individuals and families shopping for their own health insurance for 2012.
1. Determine the kind of coverage that meets your particular needs. Do you go to the doctor often or just occasionally? Does someone in the family take prescription drugs regularly? Are you looking primarily for protection in case of an unexpected illness or injury?
2. Consider a high deductible health insurance plan. Premiums for high deductible health insurance plans generally cost less than more traditional health insurance while still providing quality coverage, including preventive care. Some plans pay 100 percent of covered expenses once you meet your deductible.
3. Look into opening a health savings account. HSAs offer savings on premiums as well as triple tax advantages—money deposited into an HSA can qualify as a tax deduction, grow tax-deferred and be withdrawn tax-free as long as the dollars are used for qualified medical expenses.
4. Seek a plan that offers strong care provider network discounts. Health insurance companies negotiate with physicians and hospitals to provide services at discounted rates, sometimes as high as 30 percent to 50 percent. These network discounts can help you save on your out-of-pocket costs even before you meet your deductible.
5. Find a plan that offers deductible credit. If you do not meet your deductible by the end of the calendar year, you are given a credit against the next year’s deductible. Some plans allow credits to accumulate for multiple years.