Posted March 3, 2016
With employers shifting more and more health insurance costs to employees, many workers are wondering how they will afford it. Many people are selecting insurance plans based on the premium cost, instead of the coverage provided. Review some ways people are managing higher health insurance costs.
Employer-sponsored coverage – About 50 percent of Americans enroll in employer-sponsored health benefits.
- Many employers offer plans with higher deductibles, which lower monthly premiums, but can increase the amount plan members pay out of pocket for health care until the high deductible is met. However, some plans do cover preventive services and the money saved on premiums can be used to offset expenses.
- Employees still are interested in plans that feature Participating Provider Organization networks. While the monthly premium usually is higher, members don’t have to satisfy a big deductible upfront before insurance kicks in. These plans can include a low, per-visit copayment.
- Other popular choices are Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts. Participants can set aside money to pay for medical expenses during the year. Contributions are pre-tax and some employers add money to the account. Tip: Find out whether or not unused funds can be carried over.
Federal and state marketplace – Many Americans are purchasing individual health insurance through Healthcare.gov. Insurance premiums almost always increase over time, so it pays to stay informed. Experts recommend these money-saving options:
- Review other plan choices – Be willing to choose different insurance coverage to save costs. Don’t be afraid to call each carrier and ask questions. If switching plans, get verification of new coverage and check with health care providers to ensure they accept the coverage.
- Reapply for premium tax credits or subsidies – About 87 percent of people purchasing insurance in the marketplace receive financial assistance for premium costs, reports the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Check Medicaid or CHIP coverage – Children may be eligible for health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, depending on the state, income and family size.
U.S. News & World Report