Health Insurance Private

Private health insurance is coverage that’s not offered by an employer, but purchased by an individual. Private insurance is often the only option for those that are unemployed, and it tends to be more expensive and restrictive than coverage that’s subsidized by an employer.

Soaring costs of private health insurance have many people skimping on their health care coverage because they simply can’t afford it. In the United States in 2009, health care coverage for a family was over $13,000 a year, while a single person paid more than $4,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits Survey. Health insurance costs tend to rise steadily each year.

Fortunately, you can save on your private health insurance plans in a number of ways:

  • Eliminate Certain Coverages: Generally, the more your insurance covers, the more you’re going to pay. If you don’t need coverage for maternity care or vision–or you rarely fill prescriptions–eliminate these options from your private health plans to save money.
  • Improve Your Own Health: Your health will determine your rates, and the healthier you are, the lower your insurance. For example, a non-smoker pays an average of $50 less each month on health insurance than a smoker. Quitting smoking, reaching a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption are a few things you can do to lower costs on private health plans.
  • Increase Your Deductibles: Higher out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays will lower your monthly private health insurance premiums. This option is better for those who are relatively healthy or don’t make many trips to the doctor each year. Some high-deductible plans are designed specifically for those who don’t anticipate visiting the doctor often.
  • Insure Separately: Sometimes, it’s cheaper to insure each family member separately than to pay for a family policy. Younger children are more expensive to insure than teenagers or young adults, so purchasing separate policies for the older members of your family can also help you save.
  • Research State Programs: Depending on your income level and the age of children in your home, you may be eligible for private health insurance plans offered by your state that offer free or low-cost health care and prescriptions.
  • Shop Around: Contact multiple private health insurance providers for quotes and compare them to find the best rate. The easiest way to do this is through a comprehensive website that allows you to select different coverage options and then provides you with quotes from insurers in your area.

Private health plans need not break the bank — you can save a great deal of money on your private health insurance in a few easy ways, ensuring you have the coverage you and your family need at an affordable price.

Resources

Bradford, S. L. (2003). Buying private health insurance. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/deals/buying-private-health-insurance-14819/.

Grant, K. (n.d.). Ways to save on health care. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.walletpop.com/top5/insurance/lower-health-care-costs/.

Fritze, J. (2009). Average family health insurance policy: $13,375, up 5%. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2009-09-15-insurance-costs_N.htm.