This post was sponsored by Priority Health and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Each year during the Open Enrollment Period, my husband and I sit down to review our health insurance options during the open enrollment period to decide which plan we're going to buy for the year.
Health insurance can be expensive and so confusing to figure out! Our health insurance costs continue to rise, and they end up being a fairly large percentage of our family income. Did you know that the average American spends 10 percent of their income on health insurance?
There are so many health insurance options, and it's hard to know which options are the best fit for our family. Should we pay more in premiums to reduce our out of pocket amount when we visit the doctor or should we pay less up front in premiums knowing that we will likely have to pay for most doctor's visits out of pocket until we hit our deductible? Sometimes it feels like it's just easier to keep everything the same (or give up) rather than research our options to try to save money since there are so many choices out there!
Ninety-six percent of Americans overestimate their understanding of health insurance terms, and only 4 percent of Americans could actually define all four health insurance terms (like deductible, co-insurance, co-pay and out-of-pocket maximum). Thankfully, PriorityHealth has information on Health Insurance 101 as well as a webinar to help you learn more about the basics of health insurance.
Luckily, although health insurance is expensive, there are a few ways that you can lower your health costs for yourself and your family.
Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance:
- Choose the best plan for your family: If your family is usually pretty healthy, you might want to consider a lower premium plan with a higher deductible. With few doctor's visits you likely won't even spend up to your deductible. Add the premium amount plus the amount your family typically spends on medical expenses each year to determine if the high-deductible plan is less than the premium costs of a plan that starts covering expenses earlier (a lower deductible).
- Save Money in an HSA: If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you can save money in a Health Savings Account. You can invest the money within the HSA, and it will continue to grow tax-free as long as you use it to pay for qualifying medical expenses.
- Take Advantage of Preventative Care: Preventative services (like an annual physical) are 100 percent covered by insurance regardless of your deductible, so make sure you take advantage of those visits each year.
- Compare Health Care Costs: If you're paying out of pocket until you hit your deductible, you want to compare costs to pay the least amount of money out of pocket. With PriorityHealth, you can use the Cost Estimator Tool to research costs at in-network facilities (like for an x-ray) or prescriptions and choose the most cost efficient provider.
- Choose Virtual Visits: It's often much less expensive to get virtual care with a board certified providers than to see a doctor in-person. Some virtual care could even be covered at no cost to you through your plan. You can get care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Choose a Narrow Network (or HMO): PriorityHealth has several health insurance plans which limit you to providers and hospitals within a specific health system network (like Beaumont in Michigan). Although the plans are less flexible than a PPO, they are usually more affordable.
- Check if You're Eligible for a Subsidy: If you're shopping for health insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible for a subsidy (or premium tax credit) based on your household income and number of people covered in your household. You can apply some of your tax credit in advance to your monthly insurance premiums to lower the cost.
What about you? How do you save money on health insurance costs?