Health insurance. You know you need it, but why does it have to be so darn expensive—and complicated?
In 2020, the average American family with a $100,000 household income paid $4,500 in health insurance premiums for their employer-sponsored plan.1 Ouch. But it gets worse. When you add in out-of-pocket costs and taxes for health programs (like Medicare), they end up paying $12,500 in total medical costs.2
Maybe there’s a better way. When it comes to health insurance, you could be leaving money on the table. Here are five ways to save money on health insurance in 2022.
But first, let’s take a quick look at open enrollment and the marketplace.
What You Need to Know About the Marketplace and Open Enrollment
After the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) passed in 2010, the marketplace was formed to give people a way to sign up for health insurance. Today, anyone can go on healthcare.gov and choose an individual or family health insurance policy. Depending on where you live, the marketplace is either federally based or run by your state.
Do you have the right health insurance coverage? Connect with a Trusted pro today.
Open enrollment is the time period you can get coverage for the next year. For employer-sponsored plans, it’s usually in the fall. On the marketplace, it’s usually from November 1 until December 15, but this year it’s been extended a month—from November 1, 2021, until January 15, 2022. If you miss open enrollment, you can still get coverage after January 15 if you qualify with certain life events, like having a baby or losing your job.
5 Ways to Save Money During Open Enrollment
1. Don’t automatically go with your employer’s option.
Your employer’s plan might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Many assume that employer health insurance packages are a great deal. This is because employers sometimes get a discounted rate by buying health insurance plans in bulk (just like Costco, but with health insurance!). This isn’t always the case though.
Your employer’s plan might be horrible (as in, horribly expensive) and you’ll never know it if you don’t shop around. Or it might be your best option. This is because your employer will share the costs of the premiums and you can have the premiums deducted from your paycheck pretax. Either way, it’s worth checking out the marketplace to see if you can save.
2. Compare different plans and shop around.
One of the benefits of the marketplace is that around 175 companies offer plans. This gives you a ton of options, so you can save money with a plan that works for you, your family and your budget. Compare prices to make sure you’re getting the best bang for that buck. And think about the big picture of what you might need for the year.
3. See if you qualify for a tax credit.
No surprise here, but a lot has changed in 2020 and 2021. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, it’s easier than ever to get help paying for health insurance.3 Even if you know you weren’t eligible before, you should check again to see if you could save. A tax credit could offset some of health insurance’s high costs. You could also see some savings if you received unemployment compensation in 2021. But be careful with these credits. You could find yourself having to pay back some of the tax credit in April.
4. Start a Health Savings Account (HSA).
If health insurance had a superpower, it would be the Health Savings Account. Under certain plans (like a high-deductible health insurance plan, or HDHP), you can set aside pretax money out of your paycheck into a savings account that you can later use to pay for a variety of medical expenses. Did we say pretax? Yep.
Another beautiful thing about HSAs is that the money rolls over into next year. So, you can pile up some serious dough. And a lot of employers offer an HSA match—meaning if you put in $500, they’ll add $500. Nice! You can also invest the funds so they grow while you’re sleeping.
5. Improve your health and lifestyle.
Imagine not needing health insurance because you were so healthy. Now, that’s not actually possible (you never want to risk being without insurance!). But imagine only paying your premiums and never needing to actually use the insurance. This isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. You can get closer to making this a reality if you take steps to improve your habits and make healthier choices.
Eat better. Sleep (yes, just put your phone down and go to sleep). And you guessed it, exercise. We know—shocking, right? But all joking aside, the healthier you are, the less care you may need. And the more you’ll save.
See How Much You Could Save
Here’s bonus tip #6. Instead of doing all the legwork yourself—shopping around, comparing quotes, contrasting this, contrasting that—you could hand that work over to a trusted and independent insurance agent who’s part of our Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) program.
Our trusted pros shop for you (nice!) to see how you could save money and get better coverage at the same time. That’s called a win-win! They can also explain what the heck you’re paying for before you start shelling out for those premiums.
Connect with an ELP today to see how much you could potentially save on health insurance.