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Health Insurance Shopping Tips

How To Find Affordable Health Insurance

Health insurance can be expensive but it is possible to keep costs under control.  If you have the opportunity to be part of a group plan, do so.  Companies are required to subsidize the cost of employee health insurance, and since this coverage spreads the risk over the entire group, premiums are lower.  If this is not an option, be willing to put in the time to shop wisely and you can still enjoy affordable individual health insurance coverage.

Consider Your Options
Choosing an HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization, will give you the lowest health insurance quotes but the fewest number of choices in providers.  A PPO, or Preferred Provider Organization, permits you to use the health care professional of your choice, but your premium will be higher.  Ask your doctor what insurance plans he or she belongs to, then determine which policy is right for you.

Cheapest Isn’t Always Best
If the lowest priced policy doesn’t include all of the coverage you may need, then it is not the best deal.  Analyze your medical needs to insure that the providers and services you want are covered by the family health insurance policies you are considering. 

Don’t Buy More Coverage Than You Need
Many medical insurance plans come with a myriad of specific coverages that, while wonderful, add to the cost of the premium.  Examine each item to determine whether you and your family may truly need it.  For example, if there is no chance that you’ll be adding to your family soon, eliminate maternity coverage.  Some insurance policies include low cost cat scans, chiropractic coverage, or mental health services.  Review the provisions line-by-line, and don’t be afraid to challenge their inclusion.  Some items will come as a package so you can’t remove one component without losing the others.

Major Medical Only
If you are young and healthy, consider simply purchasing major medical coverage.  This will cover specified incidents only, such as surgery or hospital stays.  Major Medical policies can save up to 50% of the premium cost, but it is very important to know exactly what is included, when coverage begins, and the limits of the policy.

Health Savings Accounts
Whether you are self-employed or covered by a group plan, you are eligible for a health savings account (HSA) as long as you have a high deductible health plan.  You, your employer, or both, may make contributions to your HSA, which acts as a type of savings account that can be used for medical related expenses such as co-pays, prescriptions, or even bandages or antacids.  Funds may be rolled over from one year to the next.   There are both many tax advantages and rules with an HSA, so make sure you are clear on both before choosing this type of affordable coverage.

Stay Healthy
Maintaining your health will reduce your coverage risk, resulting in lower premiums and more choices in insurance companies and health policies.  So don’t smoke, exercise regularly, and make wise food choices.  If a medical exam is required, try to schedule it as early in the morning as possible, get a good night’s sleep, and drink plenty of water the day before. 

Get Coverage Before You Get Pregnant
Since pregnancy is guaranteed to result in medical costs, it is considered a pre-existing condition by health insurance providers, and thus is not covered.  Make sure personal health insurance coverage with a maternity provision is in place before starting your family.

Self-Employed Health Insurance
Fortunately up to 100% of your family health insurance premium may be deductible if you are self employed.  Check with your accountant to confirm the rules in your state.

Don’t Give Up
Even if one insurance company turns you down for health reasons, don’t stop searching for coverage.  Each company evaluates conditions differently, so what may be a deal breaker with one company may be acceptable to another.  Use the many options offered to you through Insurance-Rates-Online to find the policy that’s right for you.

Start Shopping
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