Recent research suggests many people don’t buy enough health insurance coverage to protect themselves financially should they fall ill. While it appears people are more financially aware, they still get into debt without the safety net of health insurance.
The survey of over 2,000 people, carried out by insurers Bright Grey, found that “getting a serious illness” was ranked as the second main factor to affect living standards in 2012. Despite this, many people don’t have enough protection in place to support themselves should they contract a serious illness, said Roger Edwards, proposition director at Bright Grey.
The main reason cited by survey respondents for not having a protection product was the cost. Almost half (46%) of people suggested that protection products were too expensive compared to 39% last year. So with cost in mind, how can you save money on health insurance?
5 steps for cheaper health insurance
1. Choose higher deductibles – Deductibles are the amount you have to pay out per year on healthcare before your insurance starts. Higher deductibles will lower your monthly premiums. You will have to pay more before your insurance kicks in, but this is a good option for healthy people who rarely visit the doctor. If you are at high risk of injury, for example through your hobbies or work, this isn’t a good option for you.
2. Use generic drugs – Where possible, always ask the doctor or pharmacist for the generic equivalent of any medication you need. The generic drugs can be as much as half the price of brand name equivalents.
3. Compare, check and compare again – Use online comparison sites to compare health insurance policies. Coverage and benefits can vary wildly, to make sure you have the right policy there is nothing to do but shop around. Make sure you know what level of coverage you need, factor in any pre-existing conditions and consider dental and maternity protection. Then you are better placed to find the policy offering the best value for money.
4. Check the small print – If you don’t read the whole policy you could be in for a nasty surprise when you discover you aren’t covered for an extended hospital stay or dental work. The cost of treatment not covered in your policy can be crippling.
5. Pay annually – By offering to pay annually you may be able to save money. Often insurers will provide a discount if you pay for 12 months up front. If insurers don’t provide you with this option then ask about it.