Monday, March 2, 2020

How Do You Save Money And Choose The Best Health Insurance For Your Family?

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A Complicated Question 

Healthcare costs are high in America presently. The average for a single person is $574 a month. For a family, that average jumps up to over $1,600 a month. These were the rates in 2018; today, they’ve shifted a bit, but still represent a good “ballpark” generalization. Either way, going the “traditional”, or “public” route for healthcare will cost you. 

The sum of $574 a month is $6,888 a year. At $1,600 a month, you’re looking at $19,200 a year. For $20k you can build a tiny home in your backyard using an Amazon kit. If you went the DIY route on that and rented it out for $1,000 a month, inside two years you start making money back. Maybe your strategy could be to build a few of these and use the money you make to pay for healthcare. 

That’s an option that doesn’t seem too feasible, but you’ve got to think creatively like that if you’re going to save money in today’s market. $19,200 a year just for coverage is unreasonable. If you don’t have to go to the doctor that year, it’s $19,200 you basically just flushed down the toilet. If you did need service, it may just have saved a life. 

So though healthcare is a useless cost if you don’t get coverage, people can very realistically die if you don’t pay it. What a Catch-22! The key seems to be conserving your costs as best you can. Following we’ll explore a few ways you can circumvent healthcare costs to save money, and give your family a better life.

1. Traditional Options 

Going the traditional route will provide you healthcare options in terms of HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO options. These are the primary healthcare solutions out there. They vary in cost, but will be in the financial neighborhood as outlined in the introduction. Four main things should be considered here: healthcare markets, network size, plan cost, and out-of-pocket cost. 

There are varying HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO plans out there. Not all of them are equal. The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, generally provides options of this kind. What you pay for is only covered within the network of your plan. Out-of-network coverage will be out-of-pocket, and more or less expensive depending on the plan you choose. 

To save money here, you determine which of the options best fits your family, then choose that which is least expensive directly—provided the network serves your needs. Of the options here, this will likely be the most pricey. 

2. Shared Healthcare Markets 

This might be your best choice. “Medi-Share” is an option where an individual can pay as low as $200 a month for coverage; or $2,400 a year. A family can have total coverage for an annual cost that’s $10,500; $8,700 cheaper than average rates under traditional options. 

Essentially, those paying in are putting money in a pool that’s drawn from as necessary. Medi-Share isn’t the only “health share” option available in the market today. Do your homework to find those which best fit the needs of you and your family. 

3. Deductibles 

A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay. If the bill were $10k and the deductible were $500, then you’d pay $500 and the insurance provider would pay $9,500. If the cost of service were under the deductible, it would just come out of your pocket. Know deductibles. The lower, the better—usually. There are always exceptions.

There’s another deductible angle, though. if your health insurance costs more than 10% of your income (AGI), you can deduct it from your taxes annually; meaning it could be worth your while to get a more expensive plan as a means of saving money on the back-end every year through deduction. 

So say you make $100k a year in Adjusted Gross Income. If you pay more than $10k a year in insurance, you can deduct that. Just be sure to factor in AGI. (AGI is basically what you made that year, minus either deductions that have been itemized, or personal allowances.) 

4. Medical Tourism And Urgent Care 

If you’re really adventurous, you can look into medical tourism and Urgent Care options. Mankind didn’t have healthcare as an option anywhere in the world until the 20th century. Prior that, “healthcare” was for the rich only, and involved antiquated techniques that were questionable even in their own time—like blood-letting. 

So you could “rough it”, and only pay for healthcare issues when they crop up. One trip to Urgent Care is $100. Say you’ve got a heat rash or a staph infection. You could go in, pay $100 to get looked at, pay $20 for an antibiotic, and be on your way; infection-free inside a month for only $120. 

If you’ve only got to make a trip like that under $500 once a year, you’re healthy, and save money. If you do come down with something serious, you can pursue medical tourism. This is when you find a country offering the procedure you need cheaper than you can find it in America. 

Places like Taiwan can provide top-tier medicine at rates where the round-trip airplane ticket and medical procedure are cheaper than getting help locally. Going this route is called “medical tourism”. It’s something individuals may pursue with less trepidation than families; but if you really have to save, it’s a real option. 

Savings Strategies Consolidated 

At the end of the day, you don’t need medical tourism or urgent care to save—though these can help you. Find ways of reducing your healthcare burden through tax deduction. Seek secondary healthcare markets like that which has facilitated Medi-Share, and if you’re going down established healthcare routes, know all variables to choose the most affordable plan.

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