Money is a precious commodity in today’s economy.
With a tough recession, high unemployment, increases in health care costs and an uncertain political climate, Americans are facing some difficult choices when it comes to buying insurance. More consumers are purchasing individual health insurance than ever before, and with the federal individual mandate starting in 2014, those without coverage will have to apply for the first time. Where should they begin?
“For a lot of people, this is a really scary thought,” says Brandon Cruz, founder of GoHealthInsurance.com. “For their entire lives they’ve never had to think about the right health insurance for them, they simply had what their employer provided or went without coverage completely. But soon, if not already, they’ll need to pick an individual plan, and there are a lot of things to consider when choosing.”
Many common mistakes are made that can result in additional costs, according to GoHealthInsurance.com. They include picking a plan with the highest deductible, lowest monthly costs and purchasing all your coverage from one company. Read them all here.
Providing for your family is important and the most critical aspect of ensuring that you are covered for most medical needs, especially in the case of catastrophic care. Accidents and illness are never found in a crystal ball, and the likelihood of you or your spouse or child needing major medical attention at some point is very high.
The percentage of people going to the emergency room is higher than you might think, and a serious medical issue is always possible at times when you least likely expect it. So, shop around and do some serious homework before writing that first premium check.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey also has some good advice. Unpaid medical bills are one of the biggest causes of bankruptcy. Not having health insurance isn't an option, but one option for saving money on insurance is switching to a health savings account. HSAs are great for people who don't go to the doctor often. If you're young, healthy or have grown kids, then an HSA can be an excellent alternative to the usual, expensive health insurance plans of PPOs and HMOs. A typical HSA can save you hundreds of dollars a month while still providing you with quality health coverage.
You need to have a high deductible health plan to use an HSA, and there are several options in the insurance market place. As long as you are cautious about your exposure in the plan, using an HSA can save you money. Not all families qualify for this type of insurance plan, so be careful when you do your financial planning relative to your health insurance needs. It’s always best to talk with a professional insurance agent if you have questions. And just because you see something on the internet doesn’t necessarily make it true. Stick with reputable brands for your coverage.
You can also use a medical discount plan in conjunction with HSAs and HDHPs. When you are paying out- of- pocket for all your qualified medical expenses, including doctor visits, dental work, vision needs, chiropractic care or prescriptions, it makes sense to save money with a discount plan that provides additional savings. And you can use your HSA debit card to pay discounted provider fees at the time of service.
Since health care is changing, it makes sense to not spend more than you need to for insurance. Pick the plan that works best for you. Saving money is fun, it’s cool, and it can be intoxicatingly habit forming—in a good way.