Are Rates Out Of Control In The Health Insurance Market

By: Craig Thornburrow

With another election cycle beginning you are starting to hear lots of conversation about health insurance and how each party has its own way to fix this so-called dilemma. However have you ever really looked at the health insurance market to see what drives the prices and what you might be able to do to try and save you and your family some money on your premiums? First let's look at what you as a consumer can do to get your own premiums down.

Start by looking at your policy carefully and see if you have any coverage that is not necessary. For example if you are woman and you are finished having children or do not plan on having any you may want to consider dropping your maternity coverage. This coverage is very expensive and will raise your premiums every year because the older you become the higher risk you become if you get pregnant. So if you don't need the coverage you should talk to your agent or human resource department at work to remove the coverage.

Another option especially if you are healthy and do not currently even meet your deductibles is switching to a health savings account (HSA).

These accounts cover you in the event that you become seriously ill or injured. They have higher deductibles but they can often times save you 60% on your monthly premiums. You also take pre tax money and put it into an interest bearing checking account to be used for any medical services. For example you can spend it on eye exams or even dental checkups.

Have you ever wondered why in the world these premiums are so high any way? There are a couple of reasons. One is because those that are giving the services such as doctors and hospitals are charging more because many people that use these services don't pay their bills. So they try to make up their losses somehow and that is done by charging those of us that they know they are going to get paid by more. This reason increases our insurance rates.

Then you have unnecessary litigation. People have become "sue happy" and people sitting on juries have gone temporarily insane when awarding verdicts. This has caused malpractice insurance for doctors to rise and they again pass on these additional costs to those of us that are going to pay the bill. This keeps our premiums unnecessarily high.

Finally, insurance companies are being sued to cover just about every illness and every pre existing condition and this is hurting their bottom line so they keep our rates high so their profit margin stays steady. It is important that we have insurance to cover us when we get sick or injured. It is also necessary to try and get your costs down by making as many changes to your policy that you can reasonable afford to do. Understanding the underlying reasons for high health insurance rates can help us get to a point where everyone can afford coverage.

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