How to Buy
Learn all you can! An educated consumer is a smart consumer. Use this and other Internet sites to learn about:
the different types of policies available to you;
research the companies that are offering the insurance;
check out the agent and the local company represented;
make sure you know what the policy will pay for and what it won't;
determine how you will be reimbursed for your visits, prescriptions, and other medical services.
You might think that the above suggestions should be common sense; but, a surprisingly large number of consumers don't know the answers to obvious questions. What you learn with a little research could save you big dollars, or at least reward you with the peace of mind you'll get when you truly understand the coverage you're getting -- when you're sick or injured is no time to find out what your plan really covers.
Pay your premiums annually.
You can save money by paying your yearly premium in one lump sum -- check with your insurance agent about how your savings can be. You can avoid the service fee and could also be eligible for a pre-payment discount.
Move to a higher deductible.
If your family has enjoyed good health for a number of years, you may want to switch to a higher deductible of $500 or $1000. You'll notice a significant reduction in premiums.
Don't buy policies that exclude pre-existing conditions.
If at all possible, avoid policies with any pre-existing conditions. If you can't locate one without any waiting period, at least get one with no more than a six month period.
Think twice before purchasing "supplemental medical" insurance.
Many supplementary policies are not needed because the items they pay for may already be covered under your existing health insurance plan. Check to make sure that the limits for hospitalization and treatment on your main health policy seem high enough; if they don't, shop for another policy.
Enroll in a group plan.
Individual health insurance can be extremely costly for self-employed people. By joining some small-business associations, you may have the opportunity to enroll in a group health insurance plan and save money.
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