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11 Nov

How Healthy People Can Get Lower Insurance Rates

If the skyrocketing cost of health insurance has you wondering how you'll pay for this necessary expense – you may be searching for ways to lower your monthly premium. For people in good health, there are a few methods which you can employ, to increase your savings when it comes to paying for your health insurance.

These include selecting a high deductible plan, as it's not likely that you'll need any major medical procedures during the year. Another popular option is to choose a plan that offers discounts for specific health incentives. Finally, a Health Savings Account (HSA) is often overlooked by healthy individuals, as a technique to save you a good deal of money.


1. Select a High Deductible Plan

While this may not be your first choice to lower your health insurance bill, it can be an effective option. If you're hale and hardy, the likelihood that you'll need extensive health care during the next 12 months is fairly low. Barring accident or injury, it's probable that you won't be in the hospital for an extended stay, need expensive surgery or any costly medical imaging. You also probably don't take many or any expensive prescriptions or visit your doctor's office frequently – all of which can significantly reduce your co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses.

Therefore, it is a reasonable course of action to select a high deductible plan, which requires you to pay a good deal on your own, before beginning to cover your medical costs. While this may be a daunting prospect, if you only need minimal health care during the year - then your out-of-pocket expenses should be quite low. This approach will save you considerable money on your monthly insurance premium and can go a long way towards reducing the impact this line item has on your budget.


2. Select a Plan With Health Incentives

Gaining popularity in recent years (with as many as 74% of employers thought to be offering one as of 2014), health insurance plans that include discounted rates for specific health incentives are an attractive choice as stated by Forbes. Typical incentives include lowering your premium if you quit smoking, lose weight or achieve a certain number of steps in a specific period.

However, incentive plans have gotten more sophisticated as their popularity has grown – and now some offer discounts for hitting optimal blood pressure, good cholesterol numbers or even participating in a healthy eating program. Some plans even offer free or discounted benefits to motivate members to become proactive about their health, such as free gym memberships.


Lose Weight

Though many healthy people are at their ideal weight, it's possible to carry a few extra pounds and still enjoy robust health. If that's the case for you, then dropping a few pounds could save you money on your monthly insurance premium. Usually measured by your Body Mass Index (BMI), if you achieve specific weight loss goals - then your insurance costs could drop by as much as 20%. This is a strong incentive to begin that diet you've been planning to stick to for years, but haven't yet been able to maintain.



Walk or Run Regularly

While if you're already in good health, you probably don't need to shed a huge amount of extra weight or put down those cigarettes – you may already incorporate running or walking into your regular routine.

If that's the case, by selecting a plan that rewards you for these healthy behaviors, you'll be saving money for an activity that you already do. This is a no-brainer, and won't add any time or effort to your regular routine. Usually, you'll need to wear a fitness tracker (like a Fitbit or other popular options) and connect this to your plan's tracking program. Then, you'll simply get your steps in like you normally do – and enjoy the premium discounts that your plan offers.


Participate in Screenings

Many health plans (especially employer plans), may offer you incentives to participate in regular health screenings. This can range from something as simple as an annual blood pressure check to an extensive physical or blood tests for cholesterol levels. If you're healthy, you may be tempted to ignore this benefit offered by your plan – but that can be a mistake.

Some plans offer incentives (such as discounts or even cash bonuses), simply for participating in these regular screenings. It won't cost you much time or effort, yet the savings can be significant. Also, you're sure to hit the benchmarks required - as you're already enjoying a high level of health. So, if you are concerned about your bottom line, then do yourself a favor and look into the voluntary screenings offered by your particular plan.



3. A Health Savings Account

People who don't use their insurance often because they don't have chronic conditions or need much medical care, often neglect their employer-offered Health Savings Account (HSA). The thinking is that if you contribute money and then don't use these funds - they will be lost. While this is true, in certain instances, it may benefit you to make use of your HSA, to help lower your medical costs. How does this work for healthy people?

Even if you only need limited care, it's still likely that you visit your doctor one or two times a year. During this visit, your provider probably orders routine blood work to check that no underlying problems are present. Also, even if you enjoy perfect health, you may be susceptible to certain conditions, such as strep throat or sinus infections when the weather turns cold. If you can anticipate roughly the same costs every year for any of these visits, tests or prescriptions – then paying for them with before-tax dollars makes sense.

In addition, you may have a specific medical cost coming up, such as extensive dental work. If that's the case, healthy individuals often forget that an HSA is an option – and it will help you to reduce your total cost by a significant margin.


Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

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