As the rise in health insurance premiums continues to outpace the rate of inflation, trimming your healthcare-related costs is more important than ever. Despite what you may have heard, it’s still possible to find quality health insurance at a relatively reasonable price.
Keep in mind the five tips below to help you find more affordable health insurance as you conduct your search for the perfect individual health plan.
1. Go Generic
Do a quick online search comparing retail prices of name-brand prescription drugs versus their chemically-identical generic counterparts and you’ll never look at the pharmaceutical industry the same way again.
Many health insurance plans’ pricing structures give preference to these cheaper alternatives, easily saving you 50 percent or more on your total drug costs. Even among name-brand drugs, there’s often a major difference in price: Newer releases, even those that don’t improve much on an existing formula, tend to cost more at the pharmacist’s counter.
2. Ask Questions
Health insurance plans contain enough fine print to cross a lawyer’s eyes, so don’t trust yourself to absorb everything on the first go. Ask questions of each provider, pinning them down on specific dollar values for primary-care and prescription co-pays, emergency-room visits, deductibles and any treatments or procedures that you know you’ll need down the road. It’s better to ask awkward questions up front than be surprised by costly bills later.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Consultations
You’re already aware that your doctor’s time is valuable, and you probably consider yours to be as well. Don’t waste both with unnecessary appointments to treat minor illnesses or injuries without good reason. If you show up at your doctor’s office every time you catch a cold or sustain a small cut, you’ll drive up your premiums when your policy comes up for renewal and risk losing your doctor’s confidence to boot.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Study after study shows that prevention really is the best medicine, and you don’t even need the advice of a medical professional to get yourself back on the road to health. You’ll be on the right track if you engage in moderate to vigorous exercise 20 to 30 minutes about every other day, eat ample servings of fruit and vegetables while eschewing fatty or nutrient-poor foods, avoid bad habits like smoking or excessive drinking, and adhere to a regular sleep schedule.
The healthcare industry spends untold billions of dollars each year on treating preventable illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers. Also be sure to get the necessary rest as it is important to overall health.
5. Look for Savings
Health savings accounts are relatively new on the healthcare scene, but they’re already making big waves and helping to make individual health insurance plans more affordable. If your health insurance plan has a high deductible, there’s a good chance that you qualify for a tax-free health savings account, which allows you to set aside cash to pay for unforeseen medical bills. Be sure to check with the IRS or your tax professional for your specific situation.
John Reynolds contributed this article on behalf of PrivateHealthCare.net where you can find Reviews of private health care companies and read more to make more informed health insurance purchasing decisions.