It seems as if the news is filled daily with stories of rising health insurance costs. Obesity levels and disease rates continue to rise, health care costs continually go up, and the number of those who are unable to afford health insurance coverage soars.
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There are a few things that an individual can do to lower high health insurance costs. Firstly, you should try to lower your risk factors for developing preventable diseases and harmful health conditions. Dangerous habits, such as smoking, drinking, and inactivity can lead to disease or poor health.
Secondly, you can adjust certain areas of your health insurance policy that may lower monthly costs. If you are part of a group health insurance plan through your employer, this may mean looking for ways to lower costs for the whole group. Lastly, you could also shop around to possibly find a less expensive health insurance policy.
How can I lower my risk factors?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women of most ethnicities in the United States. The cost of heart disease in 2010, from health services, medicines and lost work time, totaled $316.4 billion. The risk factors for heart disease are the same for many other preventable diseases. Lowering these risk factors will lower your upfront costs of health insurance.
Inactivity is the top factor that puts many at risk for preventable diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Many people lead a sedentary lifestyle that includes no form of exercise whatsoever. The rise of technology has contributed to this lifestyle as children and adults sit in front of a television or computer rather than get exercise.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists exercise and fitness as the top method for preventing disease. Exercises such as walking or jogging, aerobics, swimming and weight lifting are all great ways to get your heart pumping to reduce the risk of preventable diseases.
Obesity is the next factor that can lead to disease and ill health. Lack of exercise and a poor diet contribute to the high rate of obesity in the United States. Many Americans eat a diet that is high in calories and fats. Along with heart disease and diabetes, this can lead to high cholesterol, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends a diet that is high in fiber, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein. Processed foods, oils and those foods that are high in fat and sugars should be eaten in small amounts.
Smoking is another risk factor for many diseases and conditions. It can lead to many forms of cancer, high blood pressure, and lung disease. Quitting smoking will have great health benefits for anyone. Smoking has such high negative effects on health that many smokers have very high private health insurance costs; some cannot find private health insurance at all.
The bottom line is that when you lower your risk factors for certain diseases and health conditions, you will lower your chances of needing to seek medical care for those illnesses. Many health insurance companies will take your attempts to lower your risk factors into account when calculating costs.
Joining a gym or participating in a smoking cessation program may help to lower high health costs; an added benefit is that you increase your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
Additionally, if more people take steps to improve their overall health, then health service costs will drop; thus overall health insurance costs will lower once the United States becomes a healthier nation.
How can the cost of a policy be lowered?
Most health insurance policies have a total cost, or premium. This premium can be lowered in a few ways. One way to lower the monthly premium cost is to raise your deductible. The deductible is a set amount that must be paid out-of-pocket before the coverage begins to pay for medical services and medications. However, this is only a good option for those who are in good health and don’t use health coverage a lot.
Another way to lower costs is to see if you can remove options that you don’t use. For instance, maternity coverage is really only needed by women of a certain age. Review your policy with your health insurance agent to see if there are areas of coverage that can be dropped to lower the total premiums. If you have group health insurance through work, find out if some parts of the policy, such as maternity coverage, can be made optional.
How can I shop around for different health insurance coverage?
Whether you participate in individual coverage or group coverage through an employer, it is always a good idea to compare different policies. Just as you would research a new car before you buy, so should you research health insurance options.
The first step would be to use a health insurance calculator to determine average costs for coverage. The Money-zine insurance calculator will tell you a ballpark figure for rates in your area.
Next, use online quote systems to view different coverage and health options for you, your family, or your company health insurance.
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