5 Secrets to Finding Low Cost Health Insurance

Fran
Fran Majidi
March 22, 2019

Buying health insurance in 2019 is optional, meaning that you can’t get fined for having no health insurance this year. While this fact may alleviate some stress, we don’t advise that you forego health insurance to save a few dollars. Doing so is often short-sighted and much more expensive in the long-run, especially if you have a hospital visit. You may be shopping for health insurance because you got a new job, which doesn’t offer health insurance. Some people even prefer to have a health plan separate from their jobs. It’s usually a more expensive option to buy an individual health insurance policy when an employer offers to pay a portion of your premiums each month. However, some people prefer to choose their own insurance company and a plan that fits their needs and works with their preferred doctor(s) and hospitals. It’s also nice to have a healthcare plan in place that won’t change if you decide to change jobs again. Some people are also eligible for a government subsidy, which would lower their health insurance costs even more than an employer contribution does.

There are some terms and concepts you’ll want to wrap your head around before you make any decisions. If you’re buying your insurance through the marketplace in your state without the help of an agent, you’ll want to brush up on the following costs so you are better able to see the differences in each plan. Try to make your decision based on how often you think you’ll be seeing a doctor and how much medication you’ll need each month. These numbers will help you determine which plan’s breakdown ends up being most cost-efficient for you.

Health Insurance Costs

  • Premium: This is the monthly payment you will be charged by the insurance company to keep your plan active. Whether you use your health insurance or not, you must pay this monthly bill all year to be covered in case of emergencies. Monthly premiums range, depending on many factors.

  • Deductible: If you have an HMO or group health plan, you will not have a deductible. However, if you have a PPO, you will pay for medical bills out of pocket until you spend the total amount of your deductible. Every doctor or hospital bill thereafter is covered by your health insurance company. Keep in mind that medication costs do not count towards a deductible.

  • Coinsurance: This is the portion of a medical bill you and your insurer are responsible to pay after you’ve paid your deductible. Some plans have this with a breakdown of responsibility (e.g. 80/20 means that your insurance company pays 80% and you pay 20%).

  • Copay: People sometimes confuse copay with coinsurance. This is the flat fee you pay when you see a doctor (e.g. $20, $25 or $30 a visit) while your insurance company pays the bill. Medications usually come with a small copay (e.g. $2, $3, $5).

5 Ways to Find Cheap Health Insurance:

  1. Use a Comparison Shopping Website

    Shopping around and comparing rates is always your best bet to finding low cost health insurance. You can do this by calling around and giving your information over and over again. Or, you can contact one company, SmartFinancial, to fill out one form to receive several quotes at once. This is by far the most time-efficient way to buy health insurance online. Plus, unless you fill out forms elsewhere, you won’t be contacted by a million insurance companies at the same time, just one agent with prices from several health insurance carriers based on your profile.

  2. Ask Your Parents

    The cheapest way to get health insurance is to piggyback off your parents’ private health insurance plan. You can do this until you reach age 26. But if you’re 25 and younger, there’s really no way to beat these rates.

  3. Choose a Bronze Plan

    Health plans come in four tiers: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. If you’re in good health and don’t often need a doctor, the lower-tier options make more sense than, say, a platinum plan which will likely be all-inclusive but very costly compared with a lower-tiered option. You may have to pay more out of pocket when you go to the doctor, and this may not be the best plan for you if you do but choosing a bronze plan from all your options will reduce your monthly payments. It will, however, make your doctors visits more expensive and you may pay for more medication.

  4. Get Help

    You may be eligible for a federally subsidized health care plan through Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Medicare is for people over the age of 65 and some disabled people, Medicaid is for low-income individuals and CHIP is for children who don’t qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford private health insurance.

  5. Find a Reliable Agent

    If you find a reliable and trustworthy agent, all you have to do is tell that person how often you need a doctor, how much medication you normally take and if you have any preferences for hospitals or clinics in your area. Based on your personal information, the agent should be able to give you a few options for different health plans. If you need to get paired up with an agent, we suggest you start the process here.

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