The guest post is by Erinn Springer who works at GoHealthInsurance.com- an online exchange that allows consumers to compare health insurance quotes and talk to insurance agents within minutes.
Health insurance plans can be expensive if consumers do not spend time researching. The following tips can help consumers find affordable insurance and reduce health care costs:
Know what is included in the health insurance plan
Have a good understanding of your policy and what is included in it. Feel free to ask your doctor questions about treatment costs and other alternative treatments. Physicians may change treatments depending on cost.
Consumers have to be familiar with the network that their health insurance plans cover. Otherwise, they can potentially spend out-of-pocket money for a trip to the doctor or hospital. Avoiding any kind of out-of-network visits will keep costs down; consumers are charged more for out-of-network visits that aren’t planned. Some insurance companies will allow consumers to negotiate out-of-network cost.
Avoid hospital and emergency room trips when in-network doctors are available. Emergency room visits get expensive fast and many times a trip to a medical clinic or doctor could be cheaper and as effective.
Consumers can compare health insurance quotes between carriers to find more affordable coverage and the best options.
Also frequenting hospitals that charge less will help consumers save money in the long run, so consumers should research the network that their health insurance plan covers.
Reassess health insurance plans every year
It is important to contact your insurance agent to modify your health insurance policy when requisites change between the years.
Young and healthy consumers may decide it is cheaper to pay higher deductibles and lower premiums. However as people age, they should talk to their insurance agents to make sure that it is the best decision.
Also check health insurance companies for changes in policies and networks. Consumers may be able to change to more affordable networks with the insurer.
Editor’s Note: Erinn doesn’t mention the opportunity to save on health care costs with lifestyle changes and preventative care. Eating healthy, being at a normal weight, regular exercise and not smoking are just a few of the behavioral factors that can prevent or reduce health care needs. Having regular checkups and other preventive measures can catch problems before they get worse or thwart them altogether.