Five Real Life Tips to Cutting Health Insurance Costs

by Kristen

Health insurance is a major expense in every family’s budget and is extremely important to ensuring your family is safe and healthy. However many people are unaware that there are ways to save on your health insurance that can save your family thousands of dollars every year. Use these tips to help cut your insurance expenses.

1.Consider Government Programs and Consumer Assistance: Many consumers are unaware that there are many government and consumer assistance programs for health insurance. Contact your local Health and Human Services Department to find out if you qualify for any free or reduced cost care. Children likely will qualify for state coverage if you are below a certain income level and many times people with preexisting conditions or of a certain age can also qualify. Even if you learn you do not qualify, look into community health centers that may provide free or reduced cost care if you are willing to wait in line for care. Consider these community health care centers for non-serious illnesses so you can avoid the expensive deductibles and co-payments.

2.Buy Generic Prescriptions: In today’s marketplace there is a generic equivalent for almost any drug on the market, you just need to know to ask for it. Anytime your doctor writes you a prescription make sure to request the generic option. Unfortunately pharmaceutical reps can be very persuasive so a doctor may not give you the generic unless you specifically ask for it.

3.Stay in Your Insurer Network: It is very important to understand your health insurance network and stay within it whenever possible. Leaving the network always increases fees and under many plans will mean you have to pay for the entire visit out of pocket. What’s more you may not even know when you are out of the network. Anytime you visit a new doctor or hospital always check that it is in your network.

4.Use Your Flexible Savings Account: A flexible savings account for health insurance, sometimes known as an HSA, will help you to avoid taxes on you health care costs. You can put pre-tax dollars into the account and then use it for any health related expense – copayments, deductibles, prescriptions, glasses, and more. This can stretch your dollar up to 33% in many cases.

5.Consider a COBRA Insurance Alternative: With many people out of work, lots of people are on COBRA insurance plans (learn more about COBRA if you recently lost your job at ). However these plans can be very expensive, usually priced at over $1000 a month for a family of four. Going with a private policy can usually save people lots of money, up to 65% in most cases. Before paying tons for COBRA, always research other plans. Remember you can cancel COBRA at any time so it may be time to switch and save money.

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