Health insurance costs can be is very difficult to pinpoint. It varies depending on several different factors. If you are a healthy single individual, you can expect to pay about $2200 per year, and about $4500 for a family on average. This looks like a significant amount but when compared to the actual cost of health care, it is much pretty reasonable.
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Group insurance is the most affordable health insurance option. When calculated group health insurance rates are lower and employers often help subsidize premiums. However, with increasing numbers of people out of work and employers cutting benefits, fewer people have that option.
If group coverage is not available to you, individual health insurance is what you need.
What factors impact the cost of health insurance?
While every company differs when it comes to underwriting guidelines, the variables considered for issuing health insurance plans are don’t vary much from one insurer to another. The past and present health of the individual, his or her risk for future health problems and lifestyle choices all impact the cost of health insurance.
If you have preexisting conditions or have had certain illnesses in the past, you will likely encounter difficulties in finding coverage. In fact, you may even be refused coverage unless you are in a guaranteed issue state. High risk health insurance pools may also provide another option for such individuals. To learn more about the options in your state, check out the Kaiser Family Foundation information.
There are also a wide variety of things that impact a person’s risk for future health problems, including family history, age, weight, gender, smoking, alcohol use and more. Lifestyle choices like high risk jobs and recreational pastimes like bungee jumping or mountain climbing also cause health insurance costs to rise.
How can I reduce the cost of my health insurance?
There are several options that you can choose to help reduce the cost of health insurance. Typically the more of the risk you take on yourself, the lower your premium will be. This means choosing a high deductible health insurance plan, higher out of pocket limits and higher coinsurance percentages.
A high deductible health insurance plan is one of the health insurance options to consider if you need a lower premium. Also known as catastrophic insurance, it gives you coverage for the more costly health challenges like major illnesses and serious injury. HSA health insurance is another way to save on health insurance. It essentially gives you the chance to put money tax free into a health savings account that is then only used for out of pocket health expenses.
Other ways to help reduce the cost of your health insurance plan is to make yourself a better risk for insurers. The changes needed cannot be made overnight but you can reduce the cost of future health insurance if you do things like stop smoking, lose weight and don’t participate in extreme sports.
Shopping around is the single best way to make sure you have the best price possible on health insurance now. As you shop around, consider no less than three quotes, although more is better. Compare the quotes you receive based on the premium, the actual plan and the company itself in order to make the best decision possible.
How do I choose the best health insurer?
Choosing the best health insurance company means taking the time to learn about the company and how it is doing financially and in terms of customer service. Just offering the lowest price is not enough if the insurer is at risk of being out of business in a matter of months.
Check out how a company fares financially by going to an independent insurance rating firm like A.M. Best. This company and others like it, including Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Weiss Ratings, provide an overview of a company’s current economic status and how they expect to perform in the future.
To learn how an individual insurer treats its customers, seek out actual customer reviews online by doing a simple search for such. You will find an abundance of such information available online. Just bear in mind that the most vocal reviewers are typically those who are displeased. Find out the company’s market share in your state to see if the number of complaints is proportionate or not before deciding against a particular insurer.
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