As a health insurance agent, I call many potential clients and hear the same thing! They tell me that they’ve already spoken to an insurance agent, know how much health insurance will cost them, and tell me that they are very sorry, but they just cannot afford the bill! When I ask them how much the agent quoted them, I find that they were given price estimates two or three times more than my initial offer.
Why does that happen? Well, I can think of lots of reasons why agents would be tempted to sell the most expensive plans possible, but I also know that agents would rather make a smaller sale than no sale at all! I think the price quotes have more to do with a client’s expectations than agent’s greed.
Many clients are starting their own business after years in a corporate environment, and they were used to a group plan that covered almost any medical service with very small copays. Many clients are just not aware how much their old company contributed to a comprehensive plan like that, and when they quote invididual health insurance they get sticker shock!
The thing is, individual health insurance quote is usually cheaper than a group plan for the same person or family! That is because a company can underwrite every person on the plan, and are not locked into a contract to take everybody.
I am the first one to admit that health insurance takes a big bite out of a budget, but by trimming some services and keeping others, I can tailor a very satisfactory health insurance plan at a very budget friendly price.
If your family does not visit the doctor more than a couple of times a year, I would start by asking my clients to consider eliminating a doctor’s copay. If you pay a $30 copay for a $100 doctor’s visit, then you have saved $70. However, the copay feature of an insurance policy often adds 25% to a health insurance premium! For a family of four, that could mean you are paying $100 or more to save $70! In addition, most health insurance plans enroll you in a network, so your $100 doctor’s bill may be reduced by 40 – 60% even without the copay.
Another consideration is your deductible. You probably cannot afford the $500 deductible that your old group plan had, but by raising that to $1500 – $2500, you will notice a sharp decline in your monthly health insurance bill! If possible, try to save some of the diffence in case you do have a major hospital bill.
But even if you can only afford a $5,000 hospital deductible, and you really don’t have 5K to spare, you really shouldn’t be concerned. The insurance card establishes your ability to pay to the hospital, and you won’t be asked to write a check before service. You will be sent a bill, and can work out a payment plan after your health issue is resolved. When you balance the liklihood of a hospital stay against saving hundreds of dollars every month, most families will come out ahead with a higher deductible.
Accident plans and critical illness insurance can be low cost forms of coverage that will help you trim bills if you do have a major health issue.
I think it is more important to make certain that your health insurance policy is comprehensive, and will cover expensive medical services, rather than worrying about a larger deductible. Before you purchase a policy for your family, find out how it will handle cancer treatments, organ transplants, and out of town emergencies!
Remember, you are buying health insurance to protect your health and assets in case of a very serious illness, and not to cover a $12 bottle of antibiotics. If minor viruses were the only health issue we risked, nobody would worry about health insurance at all!