Health insurance is fraught with lots of uncertainties, and many are concerned that getting individual health insurance plans will become very costly for most people. Still, you must accept that it’s simply irresponsible to not have any kind of health coverage at all. You need to get one, regardless of your financial situation.
But not everyone can afford the most expensive insurance plans. You can at least do your best to minimize the cost, and here are some tips on how to do just that.
- Enlist the help of a health insurance expert. Navigating the health insurance marketplace is like trying to diagnose and treat your own medical condition. It’s not easy, and it’s probably better to rely on an expert who can help you find the health insurance plan you need. This plan should cover many medical conditions, and it should also fit your budget.
- Remember that the lowest premium isn’t necessarily the most affordable. The point of insurance is to reduce your medical expenses, should you get sick or injured. So if you pick an insurance plan with the lowest premiums that usually means there’s a high deductible. If you get sick or injured this doesn’t make sense because in virtually all your medical treatments you’re paying for everything because the total costs don’t go beyond the deductible amount.
So your actual most affordable insurance plan is the one that requires you to pay the least amount of money at the end of the year. You have to consider not just the monthly premiums, but also the out of pocket costs you need to cover for your medical treatments.
- Check what kind of subsidies apply to your case. There’s been a lot of confusing talk about the future of subsidies, but a recent analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services show that subsidies are increasing. For 2018, the average tax credit for reducing the price of health insurance can go up to $555. In 2017, the average was just $382.
These subsidies depend on the price of your insurance plan as well as your placement relative to the federal poverty level. If you earn a gross income that’s less than 400% of the federal poverty level, then you may qualify for the tax credits. The rules change for next year, and just because you don’t qualify for subsidies this 2017, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get tax credits for next time.
- Know your other options. You can try the ACA marketplace, though often the pickings are a bit limited. If you’re working, see if you have insurance options through your work. If you’re the spouse or even the domestic partner of an employee, it may be possible for you to get into their health insurance plan.
- Check the coverage of various insurance plans. You’ll need to make a list of pros and cons for each, and see which coverage will most likely suit your general health and family medical history.
- If you already have an insurance plan, review it every year. You don’t want to assume that your coverage needs will remain the same. You have to check your policy each year and also see if any increase in the premium may make it too expensive.
The bottom line is, don’t forget to consult an expert. That’s probably the best advice anyone can give you. They know this stuff inside and out, and you can really benefit from their expertise and vast knowledge on this subject.