Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance
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Ways to Save Money on Health Insurance

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 at 7:00 am
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Medical Piggy Bank With Dollar Bills In SlotThe health insurance marketplaces opened on October 1, 2013. For the first time, millions of Americans can use them to access affordable health insurance. It doesn’t cost any money at all to use the marketplaces and take a look at what health plans are being offered to you. Here are some tips and resources that can help you to save money on health insurance.

Start at HealthCare.gov
The health insurance marketplaces are designed to make it easy for you to find an affordable health insurance plan. To find your state’s marketplace, start by visiting HealthCare.gov. The marketplace open enrollment period ends on March 31, 2014.

Do you qualify for Medicaid?
People that use the marketplace will be informed if they qualify for Medicaid (or if their kids qualify for the Children’s Health Insurance Program). Eligibility is based upon your household size and income.

It also is based (somewhat) on where you live. States that chose to expand their Medicaid programs will cover all people who make up to 138% of the federal poverty level. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, that equates to about $33,000 for a family of four.

Do you qualify for a subsidy?
It is possible that you may qualify for financial assistance to help you pay the premiums on a private health insurance plan. That assistance is called a “subsidy”. It is being offered to individuals and/or families who are low income. You can use the Subsidy Calculator from Kaiser Family Foundation to find out if you qualify for a subsidy.

Do you have health insurance through your employer?
If you like your plan, and it covers a set of essential health benefits you don’t have to change plans. You can choose to take a look at what the marketplace can offer you. However, you will not qualify for lower costs based on your income unless your job-based insurance is unaffordable or doesn’t meet minimum requirements.

Compare plans.
All health plans offered through the marketplace will cover certain essential health benefits. It is advisable to compare the different plans you are offered anyway. They will not all be the same.

It is a good idea to consider using the services of a health insurance broker to help you with the marketplace. He or she will use their skills, knowledge, and expertise to find you the most affordable plan. The broker can also answer your questions about each plan and offer advice about which plan would best fit your needs. There is potential that the broker can help you save more money on health insurance.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.