Health Insurance is Confusing + Giveaway
So you know these grown-up things where you have a 401k or need to choose the appropriate health insurance, it involves money, and you’re not really sure what it all means? Yeah, it can be confusing. I can tell you this, it gets easier.
I realized there were certain things that were good to know and when the good people at NAIC reached out to me with their tips for health insurance, I liked it and thought it was pertinent to share.
Oh and psst. Scroll to the bottom for an awesome giveaway.
NAIC Health Insurance Tips
If you receive health insurance through an employer, consider the following before selecting coverage this year:
- Do the math: To pick the best plan, calculate healthcare costs from recent years and try to estimate costs for the coming year; don’t assume you know what plan will be the most affordable.
- Check out tax-free savings: Open a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan or a health savings account if that is available to you.
- Look for wellness incentives: Find out if your employer is offering a wellness program or incentives for healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly or not smoking.
If you feel you can’t afford regular health insurance, a more affordable option you may want to consider is purchasing a high-deductible major medical policy that only covers very serious or catastrophic health costs. It will offer lower premiums than regular health insurance policies and help you cover bills for “major” medical events, like surgery, hospitalization or emergency room care. But it will typically not cover routine doctor visits or check-ups.
HSA: If you are convinced that you are generally healthy and have a healthy lifestyle and definitely do not want to pay (or can’t afford to pay) high insurance premiums, consider a Health Savings Account. HSAs can be set up individually or, increasingly, as an option through employers. They allow you to accumulate and spend pre-tax money for health expenses via an account that you own and can take with you should you change jobs.
If you are self-employed, you face some unique challenges in finding and keeping health insurance, but you have a range of choices. Tax laws may allow you to deduct the cost of health insurance.
- Spouse plan: First, check about being added to your spouse’s or domestic partner’s employer plan.
- Individual insurance: Consider shopping for private insurance. This option allows you to customize care to your lifestyle, health and budget. New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans could help if you have had trouble qualifying for coverage in the past
Doniree hosted an awesome post on insurance if you’re self-employed. Definitely worth a read.
If you are unemployed, you were likely forced to determine how, or if, to continue your health insurance coverage within the past year.
- Now is a good time to review your decision and determine if your choice is still appropriate and if you or your family members might be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
- Some professional or philanthropic associations offer state regulated health plans. For a fee, you can join these organizations and have the ability to participate in their plan.
NAIC has offered one Exercise heart-rate monitor from Timex to one lucky reader.
To enter, please leave a comment here stating your tip on health insurance purchases. If you don’t have a tip, ask a question in the form of a comment.
One winner will be announced on Friday of this week. U.S. only.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Richard Dedor the winner (picked at random) of the heart rate monitor. Thanks everyone for entering!
Disclaimer: Thanks to National Association of Insurance Commissioners for the tips and providing a heart-rate monitor as a giveaway to Small Hands, Big Ideas readers. My opinion, as always, is my own.