When looking for affordable health insurance you may be tempted to select a plan that offers the lowest premiums. However, an inexpensive health insurance plan with a low premium may not necessarily be the most affordable.
In addition to insurance premiums, you also need to consider a plan’s required co pays, deductibles, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. Generally, the lower the monthly premium, the more you will have to pay out-of-pocket before coverage begins, and the less comprehensive the coverage will be.
After adding up the out-of-pocket costs of doctor visits, prescription drugs and medical treatments over the course of the year, some may actually find it more affordable to pay a slightly higher premium for a more comprehensive plan that covers a greater share of medical expenses.
When looking for the most affordable health insurance plan for you, it’s important to select a plan that not only fits your budget, but fits your medical history.
Example 1: You are a 35 year-old non-smoker that has a good history of health and rarely visits the doctor.
If this example describes you, an inexpensive health insurance plan with low premiums and a high deductible may make the most sense. In this scenario, you are less likely to require medical treatment, purchase prescription drugs or repeatedly visit the hospital. In the rare event you do require treatment, you will have to pay more up front, but your plan will limit your maximum out-of-pocket expenses.
Example 2: You are a 62 year-old smoker with chronic bronchitis, visit the doctor at least once per month and have several prescription medications.
If this example describes you, an inexpensive health insurance plan with low premiums is not going to be the most affordable. In this scenario, you have a history of requiring frequent medical care and prescription drugs. A health insurance plan with a higher premium and a more comprehensive coverage package will likely save you more money over the course of the year, as you will be required to pay less out-of-pocket for a greater number of covered services.
Thanks to Health Care Reform, if you purchase health insurance through a state or federal Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be eligible to receive advanced premium tax credits to help offset the cost of insurance premiums.
A personal health insurance agent at the WNC Health Insurance/The Asheville Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina® Store can help you to find the most affordable health insurance – our services are offered at no extra cost to you! We are here to assist you in looking at all of the variables and determining the true cost of health insurance for you or your family.