Buying private health insurance can be both time consuming and frustrating if you don’t know where to start. For those who have been on a group health insurance plan for years, the sticker price of buying private health insurance on your own can be quite shocking.
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According to the California Department of Insurance when an individual applies for private health insurance the company uses underwriting when deciding the monthly costs of the health plan. They look at age, sex and health history to find a price range for clients.
Mistakes People Make
When people are shopping around for private health insurance there are some very common mistakes that are made.
A big health insurance mistake is to sign on with an insurance company when your family practitioner is not in their network.
Most private health insurance plans have a network of preferred providers. People can seek out medical treatment within this network of providers; if they use someone outside of the network either the insurance company won’t pay any of the costs or will only pay a percentage of the costs.
For those who use prescription medication it’s important to make sure you are covered when you pick up a new private health insurance plan. Many will make the mistake of committing to a plan without checking to see if their prescription drugs are covered. This can be a very costly mistake for those who need coverage on prescriptions.
In some states health insurance companies do not have to cover maternity costs. When you’re expecting you usually don’t think about the large amounts of money you’ll have to pay before, during and after the baby comes. The burden of the costs is usually much lower if you have a maternity health insurance policy to cover part of it.
Many times people who purchase private health insurance are seeking out supplemental health insurance. Supplemental health insurance plans are usually bought to fill in any gaps that the individual’s primary health insurance doesn’t cover. However, you may be overinsured and have more than what you need for coverage.
Many people will pay a larger monthly premium in order to not have a large copayment. This can be a mistake depending on the person. You may be paying out more in the long run with your premium payments than you would for a larger copayment. You can usually find great private health insurance to buy with the right information.
Ways to Lower Your Premium Payments
If you are a smoker it may be time to quit the habit. Those who are not smokers are able to get lower health insurance premiums than those who light up. The reduced rate is a significant decrease for those who decide to quit smoking.
Staying healthy is another excellent way to help lower your premium rates for private health insurance. When you apply for a plan the underwriters take everything into consideration. This includes your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are in good health it will positively affect your premium rate.
For those who want to reduce their monthly premium another great way to do so is by increasing your deductible. Studies have shown that those who have a lower deductible are more likely to use their insurance. Health insurance companies compensate for this by increasing the monthly premium of policies.
Choose the professionals that are within your health insurance network. The network is there to help cover the costs of medical care. If you go outside the network than you’ll most likely have to pay all or most of the medical care bills. Sports or hobbies such as skydiving, race car driving, and mountain climbing will increase your monthly premiums significantly.
Past Health Insurance Problems
Again, underwriters look at everything when considering a premium rate for private health insurance. Health history is another big one. There are some red flags that could hurt your health insurance premium if they show up in your health history.
Preexisting health conditions are a big red flag. According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance a preexisting health condition is a medically present condition that was on a person’s health history before they were covered by insurance. Mild depression, breast implants, allergies and even ear infections can cause an increase in the premium rates. Even if you’ve been without symptoms, stroke or Lyme disease in your health history can also affect your premium rate.
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