5 Health Insurance Hacks for the Modern Family

Being a part of a family is one of the most fulfilling parts of the human experience. Ideally, you’re surrounded by warmth and companionship, but it can also mean paying a lot of bills. Keeping a roof over everyone’s heads and food on the table is expensive, and health insurance isn’t cheap either. You need to cover everyone so they stay healthy, but you also don’t want to go bankrupt in the process. Knowing your family’s health insurance and medical needs is a good start, but it’s also helpful to have some hacks you can use in dealing with modern health insurance. 

5 Health Insurance Hacks Modern Families Should Know 

While there are plenty of things you can do to potentially manage your family’s health insurance costs, these are five specific hacks you should try first. 

  • Do Comparison Shopping: Through both the government marketplace and employer-sponsored benefits, you probably have multiple options for family health insurance. See what plans you have available from different insurance carriers and look at their premiums and coverage. Balancing your needs for frequent care with premiums and deductibles can determine a lot. 
  • Use a Broker: An insurance broker can help you determine the right plan to pick from. They can help you compare the expenses and advantages of different plans available to you. The right advisor can assist you whether you’re buying a plan privately, sifting government marketplace options, or choosing employee benefits. 
  • Review Things Annually: You’re usually going to be allowed to change plans once a year unless certain qualifying events occur. It might not seem like things change much in one year, but they can. Plans might change, certain family members might have different needs, and your financial picture can all change, so be ready to adapt to new circumstances. 
  • Look Into Government Assistance: If you’re within 400% of the federal poverty level, you might qualify for subsidies that get you health insurance coverage for under $100 per month. If you’re old enough or disabled, you might qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Families with children might qualify for coverage under CHIPS. 
  • Take Advantage of Tax Breaks: Health savings accounts are also known as HSAs and can help people who have high deductibles. Use one to save money for tax-free withdrawals for certain medical costs, including insurance costs. Flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, and health reimbursement arrangements, or HRAs, are other possibilities. You might also get tax deductions for health expenses that are more than 7.5% of your AGI. 

Think Ahead 

One thing you want to consider when planning your family’s healthcare needs and solutions is how things might change as people get older. Younger dependents will hopefully become financially self-sufficient adults and get their own health insurance. However, your spouse and other adults might be included in your planning for years to come. 

As adults age, certain realities are more probable. One of them is potential hearing loss. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but there are assistive devices possible that can help. 

Fortunately, getting up there in years might also mean qualifying for certain government health insurance programs. In this case, Medicare Advantage plans with hearing aid coverage might help pay for assistive technology that helps your older family members with auditory issues maintain a high quality of life. You still need to shop around, however, as there are multiple Medicare Advantage plans available, and the coverage for each differs. 

Metal Matters 

When shopping around for health insurance, you might notice that various plans are described by color or metal. This is a designation system featured prominently through Healthcare.gov and the Affordable Care Act, but Forbes has a good primer about this. 

  • Bronze: These plans have the lowest monthly premiums but they also have high deductibles. If you’re only looking for coverage for the worst-possible situations, then this is the way to go. Health insurance in this category often pays 60% of health care costs, and you’re responsible for the other 40%. 
  • Silver: The next tier up features lower costs when you get care, but the monthly premiums are higher. The split is more towards 70%/30%. 
  • Gold: This is a good plan for anyone who needs routine care. Monthly premiums are higher, but the point-of-care expenses are lower. You’re likely to only pay 20% of the costs with the insurance covering the rest. 
  • Platinum: These monthly premiums are the highest. However, if you need frequent care, you can enjoy minimal point-of-care expenses when you utilize the available healthcare services you need. 

Costs Involved With Health Insurance 

You know that health insurance is expensive, but do you actually know the specific costs involved with it? There are actually four that you should be aware of when comparing potential plans for your family: 

  • Premiums: This is how much you pay for insurance, even if you get employer or government assistance and subsidies. 
  • Deductible: This is how much you pay out of your own pocket for medical expenses before the health insurance starts covering things. 
  • Coinsurance: The rate of coinsurance is a percentage you pay from your own pocket. 
  • Copayments: These are set payments for particular healthcare services. 

The Sooner You Manage This, The Better 

The faster you can get your family’s healthcare and insurance costs under some kind of control, the better it will be for everyone involved. While efforts are made from time to time by national leaders and industry stakeholders to lower the cost of healthcare, costs are likely to continue rising year over year. These five hacks are a good start, but they’re not the only thing you can do. Be sure everyone gets screened regularly for preventative health, and live healthy lifestyles as much as possible. Lots of small steps can go a long way. 

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