As Washington continues it’s plan to overhaul our healthcare system, most have many questions about how the new system will work, what will be required of them and what it will cost. President Obama’s plan will include a government health plan options, which will compete with private family medical insurance. While the impetus for change is great, it will take up to 10 years to fully implement either of the healthcare reform proposals being considered.
This kind of reform proposal is a great concern to health insurance companies and healthcare workers, they feel that they will be the losers in the newly formed system. One of the proposed reform options being suggested is to require all American’s to be insured, this would enable insurerd to lower medical insurance cost by spreading the risk over a larger population. Many feel that a mandate requiring everyone carry medical insurance is necessary to bring cost down. Otherwise people seeking medical insurance coverage only after getting sick will drive up the cost for those already enrolled.
The model, which provides the mandated insurance for all, would allow the insurance companies a larger pool of enrollees over which the risk would be spread. This would free up more capital for paying claims. A great benefit of of this reform would be that all would be able to get coverage, regardless of medical history.
The bottom line is that the cost of medical insurance coverage will be much lower if everyone is on board, meaning that we will not only be insuring the sick, but also healthy American’s under this new health care plan. This will allow the insurance companies to cover more people and provide better coverage to all.
In the immediate future health care costs may rise, as more people have medical insurance coverage they may visit the doctor more often for every little thing. But once this initial surge is past, the need will return to average and everyone will be healthier.
For many Americans finding affordable health coverage is difficult, if not impossible. As the economy struggles, more employers have cut back on medical insurance benefits, while medical insurance premiums continue to rise. Many families are living with no family medical insurance at all. There are things you can do to cut back on your health care expenses, however.
BestHealthcareRates.com wants to help families cut their health care costs where ever they can. Whether you have affordable medical coverage or not, here are 10 ways you can cut back on your medical expenses.
- Check your hospital bills carefully. Hospital bills often contain errors- charges for services or supplies never received, duplicate charges, simple errors- keep a list of the tests you receive in the hospital and check it against your bill when you get it. If you find a mistake, request a new bill from the billing department and make sure your insurance company receives the right one.
- Follow orders. It’s far too easy to ignore the advice of your doctor or pharmacists. Remember, they give you advice because it can cut your recovery time or prevent a relapse. You can save on your share of hospital visits, doctor’s appointments and prescription costs by following doctor’s orders the first time around.
- Get in shape! You can save as much as 26% on medical expenses if you lose that excess weight and get in shape. So get moving- start walking, biking, swimming, dancing- whatever you enjoy most to get your body moving on a daily basis.
- Buy generic. According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, generic prescriptions cost as much as 1/3 less than name brand medications. Over the counter medications also come in generics and can save you hundreds of dollars in a year’s time.
- Ask for samples. Drug companies give free samples to doctors, so when you need a prescription, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for samples. Samples also allow you to find out if a new prescription will work for you before you shell out your hard earned money at the pharmacy.
- Take advantage of open enrollment. Your employer sponsored group medical insurance plan medical insurance will have an open enrollment annually. Take advantage by checking out all the plans to make sure you are still getting the most affordable health coverage you can to fit your family’s needs.
- Follow the fine print. If your medical insurance requires you get a referral or pre-certification for certain services, make sure you get them every time you need them. Most of the time, you will need a referral to see a specialist or have expensive tests done. Read your policy carefully- and do what you need to do to keep costs down.
- Use your network. You can save as much as 50% by seeing providers within your network. If you’re having surgery, make sure your anesthesiologist, radiologists and other specialists are in your network. If not, call your insurance company and ask for an exception. You may just be surprised at how often they say yes.
- Use your Flexible Spending Account. Many employers offer a FSA in their benefit package. Your FSA lets you set aside pre-tax dollars for out of pocket medical expenses. Keep all your receipts and submit them in a timely manner to take full advantage of this money saving benefit.
- Make COBRA work for you if you’re leaving your job. If you know you are leaving your job in the next year, switch to the lowest cost health plan you can to save money on your COBRA costs between jobs.
Face it; health care is expensive – no matter how you slice it. Affordable family medical insurance is a need for so many people. One of the best ways you can keep your medical insurance rates lower is to stay as healthy as you possibly can. BestHealthcareRates.com offers these tips for maintaining your family’s health, which will help you find and keep affordable medical insurance.
1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is undoubtedly the number one health hazard today. Smokers get sick much more often than non-smokers do and are more likely to suffer from ongoing chronic illness and disease than non-smokers are. Smoking affects your entire body, including your heart, your circulation, your healing ability and time and a host of other health hazards. If you choose to do only one thing to improve your health, stop smoking today. There are a number of different smoking cessation tools and aids to help you quit – and you can get many of them free through various programs, most of which are sponsored by medical insurance companies. Do a web search for smoking cessation and find a program to help you quit smoking today. You’ll also find more affordable health coverage and life insurance if you’re a non-smoker with lower premiums and discounts available from many medical insurance companies.
2. Eat Right. You’ve heard it repeatedly, but watching your diet is one of the easiest ways to get healthier, which leads to more affordable health insurance. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables – and plenty of variety. Not only will your plate look more attractive and appetizing with dark greens, deep oranges, reds, purples and yellows, you’ll also be getting the widest variety of vitamins and antioxidants by switching things up. Cut the fat and you’ll cut the cholesterol. Include lean meats, lots of fish and poultry and adding alternative proteins like legumes, soy and nuts. Drink your milk and add plenty of water to your diet. Limit your portions. Keep your blood sugar steady by eating five small meals throughout the day rather than three large ones. Allow yourself the occasional indulgence to avoid feeling deprived.
3. Move it or lose it – your health that is. As our lives get busier, we spend more time jumping in the car and rushing off to the next important thing we need to do. One of the best things you can do for your health and to maintain affordable health coverage costs is to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park two blocks away and walk to your destination. Put on some music and dance. Ride bikes with your kids. Push a lawnmower instead of using the rider. Get out in the garden. Take a walk after supper. Bring a bag lunch of low-cal foods and use the rest of your lunch hour to take a stroll. There are many ways to add exercise into your daily routine, even if you don’t have time to go to the gym. Start by adding one new habit each week until you’ve built in an additional 30 minutes of movement into your daily routine.
Everyone wants to save some money and find affordable health coverage. If you are choosing between group health insurance coverage and individual medical coverage, most people assume group healthcare will be the most affordable option. Many people are offered group health insurance either through their place of employment or through their spouse’s employment. In fact, for some families, the type of medical insurance offered by a company is as important to consider as wages.
You can also find group health insurance coverage through other outlets such as professional associations, student organizations and professional and civic groups. Some groups will provide group health insurance as an incentive for people to join.
Is it true that group health insurance is always the most affordable type of insurance? Surprisingly, no it isn’t always the best answer. With group health insurance, everyone in the group is generally accepted into the plan with no penalty for pre-existing conditions. While this can be very beneficial for those who have a health condition which makes them high risk, it’s important to know that cost is distributed among the other members of the group. Because of the guaranteed acceptance in a group policy, the premium rates may be quite high. Many times, however, employers will pay a portion of the medical insurance premium, therefore reducing the amount owed by the individual employees. Rather than blindly assuming a group health rate is more affordable medical coverage than an individual policy, you need to examine carefully how much your portion of the premium is for both individual coverage and family medical insurance coverage.
Group medical insurance will also limit you to one or possibly two providers in many cases. If you choose an individual healthcare policy, you can often choose your provider from a much larger network of doctors, hospitals and clinics. You also have the choice of many different insurance companies when you purchase an individual policy, further expanding your provider options.
Your care options on a group health insurance plan may be more limited with a group plan as well. With individual health coverage, you can choose things like dental, vision, chiropractic care, etc, that you probably will not have any control over in a group plan.
Finally, group healthcare will often provide only one option for deductibles and copays. When you purchase individual healthcare, you make the decisions regarding deductibles and copays, which can lower your premium significantly.
Group health insurance does offer a significant benefit over many individual healthcare policies. By joining a group health insurance policy at your place of work, you will not need to pass a physical exam by a doctor to be accepted. Group health plans will also generally accept pre-existing conditions, which can be much more difficult with an individual policy.
Group health insurance policies can vary widely from state to state, as well as from company to company. Never make a blind decision when choosing your healthcare policy. You must compare provider options, coverage options, deductible costs, co-pay amounts and premium costs in order to choose the best, most affordable health coverage for your needs.