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Buying and Saving with Individual Health Insurance

Today more and more people are finding themselves without employer-sponsored health insurance. They may be unemployed, or it could be they work for a small business that can't afford to offer health benefits. For some workers, their employer's insurance is too costly to afford, while for others, coverage is woefully inadequate.

Shop Around for Individual Health Insurance

Regardless of why you're without employer-based insurance, it's crucial to have some form of medical coverage. Today many companies are specializing in offering individual health insurance that's affordable. You can take advantage of individual health insurance to cover yourself and your spouse and children, depending on your needs.

If you do some shopping around, you'll find individual health insurance premiums vary greatly. You'll need to take the time to evaluate coverage and features as you evaluate costs. Consider limitations and exclusions, policies about choosing healthcare providers, and the cost of co-payments and deductibles.

More Ways to Save on Healthcare Costs

In addition to comparison shopping, you can save money on individual health insurance in a variety of ways. If you're in good health and you're only interested in coverage for major medical expenses due to accidental injury or a serious illness, catastrophic health insurance may be a less costly option that will provide you with adequate coverage.

Taking advantage of locally offered free health screenings, checkups and immunizations is another way to control the cost of healthcare. You may be able to save on the cost of an office visit if you take advantage of free screenings for blood pressure or cholesterol. Some hospitals and clinics even offer free flu shots and mammograms.

Many prescription drug plans and health insurance companies offer discounts if you order prescription drugs through the mail instead of purchasing them at a pharmacy. In most cases, you can receive a three-month supply of medication for the same cost as a one-month supply purchased at a store. This can add up to considerable savings if you regularly take any prescription drugs. It's also a good idea to ask if less expensive generic options are available for name brand prescriptions you must fill.

Taking part in preventative healthcare practices is another way you may be able to cut health insurance costs. Some health insurance companies offer discounts to individuals who receive recommended yearly checkups and screenings. Ask your insurance company if they currently offer preventative care discounts, as it could be a new policy put into effect without your notification.

One important way to control health costs that many people overlook is their ability to reduce the need for medical care by staying healthy in the first place. If you're overweight and out of shape, exercising regularly and losing weight will improve your health. Being overweight and inactive is linked to a variety of illnesses. If you smoke, drink too much or neglect to eat a healthy diet, you're putting yourself at risk for health problems. Simply improving your eating habits and taking a daily multi-vitamin can boost your immunity and reduce the chances you'll need medical care for minor illnesses.

For decades, individuals have taken affordable employer-based health insurance for granted, and they assumed whenever healthcare was necessary, it would be available at a very low cost. Today this is no longer the case. In addition to taking individual responsible for health insurance costs, it's also important for everyone to take responsibility for managing and improving their individual health. Preventative care, living a health life style and looking for ways to control the costs of healthcare are effective ways to help make health insurance more affordable.

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