Medical insurance premiums change every year. And unfortunately, rates tend to increase most years. This is due to higher costs associated with health care treatment, such as doctor’s charges, facility fees and room charges of hospitals and other providers. Although recent federal legislation allows many consumers to qualify for lower costs, many others are watching premiums substantially increase.
New technological advances in medicine save lives and improve quality of living. But they also can be costly to consumers. We’ll help you reduce your premiums and show you companies that will charge less for their coverage.
The top portion of every page on this website provides you with the opportunity to quickly compare the policies that are likely to be able to help you cut your costs. Entering your zip code and other information will be required. But don’t worry. We don’t want or need personal financial information such as your social security number. And it doesn’t take long for you to view and compare low rates.
Recent changes to national health care here in the United States have improved the quality of individual and group plans. But at what cost? Now that there is no cap on lifetime payable benefits and mandated preventive coverage is required, both private and employer-sponsored policy premiums have risen.
Additional changes resulting from future government regulations could further strain medical rates. Ultimately, someone must pay for these changes and it appears (for now) it will be wealthier Americans. Persons with income below the Federal Poverty Level will be able to obtain affordable coverage a bit easier starting in 2014. This change helps many consumers who otherwise might not be able to purchase a policy. In fairness, that is a major positive change.
One of the big variables is whether each state or the Federal Government will pay to enact many of the new programs. One example is the State Exchange programs which will help facilitate the purchase of online medical insurance in late 2013 and beyond.
Since the cost of setting up and maintaining these programs could be hundreds of millions of dollars (per state), naturally, there is discussion and confusion over who will ultimately pay for them. Most states have decided to let the federal government handle the setup costs.
What Can You Do About Your Costs?
Consumers, however, can often effectively reduce their medical insurance premiums. Naturally, the most common method is to lower or eliminate coverages. With the new Exchanges, the “Bronze” plans will be the least expensive and the best option to minimize your cost.
Typically, we don’t recommend altering your benefits unless you fully understand the impact of the proposed changes and the “worst case scenario” that can result. And sometimes, if you delete a benefit, you may not be able to get it back, or you may have to wait for an “Open Enrollment” period which could be the following year.
For example, if you alter your private health care plan by substantially bringing your catastrophic deductible up to $10,000, your potential costs (with coinsurance) could be as much as $15,000. If you were to have two major claims in successive years, are you prepared to pay $30,000 out of your own pocket?
While the $3,000 (or more) savings per year would have been nice, in retrospect, changing your policy could create some major financial hardship. However, many hospitals will negotiate the amount you owe and the terms that it is paid back. Of course, these higher deductibles may not be available in State Exchanges.
Shopping and comparing to find new medical coverage can be time-consuming so it’s best to let the experts do all of the legwork for you. And yes…that’s where we can help! Whether you have pre-existing conditions, or you’re in perfect health, we’ll be able to evaluate dozens (often hundreds) of available plans in your area, and advise you if it’s feasible to reduce your premiums in a way that won’t jeopardize your long-term health care.
And we’ll also try to point out situations where your payments are tax-deductible (possibly an HSA). If you qualify for a federal subsidy, your premiums will be reduced. If your income prohibits you from government assistance, outside/Exchange options should be considered.
How Are Insurance Premiums Calculated?
Actually, there are a number of factors. Of course, your overall health plays a huge role in this calculation. If you don’t have any existing conditions, don’t smoke, don’t take any medications and you have a normal BMI (Body Mass Index), you’ll probably enjoy a low rate. Conversely, If you have been treated for cancer, diabetes or heart disease, there’s a good chance you’re not going to be happy with the rate you are being charged.
Some conditions, even cancer, will not substantially impact the rate after a specified number of years. And starting in 2014, existing conditions for adults will not be a factor in determining eligibility for qualifying for coverage and purchasing a policy will become mandatory. Otherwise, you will have to pay a tax.
As expected, your smoking status, age and state of residence will also influence your rate. If you’re a young healthy male in Ohio, you will be paying a ridiculously low rate. If you move to New Jersey, for example, you will see a significant increase in your premium. Also, typically, males pay less than females until about age 50.
We’ll continue to monitor rates of health care providers and publish the latest information that may help you stabilize and possibly lower what you pay for your own coverage. It seems as if every few months, there’s a new rule or regulation that impacts what you pay or a new mandated benefit you must purchase.