Need to Trim Your Health Insurance Coverage? This is Where Cuts Could Impact You the Least

Health insurance agent concept, closeup workspace of insurance broker, laptop computer, health insurance information form, coffee on desk.
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Health insurance is one of those budget items that seems like an unnecessary financial drain all the way up until the point you really need it. Cutting back on your coverage can be scary, though many Americans have been forced to because of this year’s soaring inflation rate.

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The question then becomes what to change or trim during the current open enrollment period. This is the kind of decision that could save you a considerable amount of money, but a lot of people don’t take the time to research the different options.

Employees spend an average of 18 minutes reviewing their benefits selections during open enrollment, CNBC reported, citing comments from Rob Grubka, CEO of Health Solutions for Voya Financial.

“They spend more time deciding what to watch on Netflix,” Grubka said.

That’s a risky move right now, with renewed threats of Covid in some sections of the country. As many as 23 million Americans have what is considered long Covid, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Make Your Money Work for You

Despite those threats, benefits platform Elevate estimates more than one-quarter of employees have postponed wellness visits and screenings because of cost concerns, CNBC noted.

If inflation has forced you to cut back on healthcare spending or coverage, there are ways to save money to ensure you protect both your health and bank account.

For example, when you apply for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, you can find out if you qualify for a tax credit that lowers your premium. Part or all of the credit can be applied to your monthly insurance premium payment, according to Healthcare.gov. The Marketplace will then send your tax credit directly to your insurance company, meaning you’ll pay less each month.

In terms of employer health plans, Elevate CEO and Co-Founder Brian Cosgray told CNBC that you can save money by switching to a combination high-deductible health plan/health savings account — especially if you are in good health.

“If you expect your health-care costs to be low for the coming year, a high deductible health-care plan paired with an HSA could be a good way to save money,” Cosgray said. “However, if you have chronic health conditions in your household and typically hit your deductible, a traditional [PPO] plan paired with [a flexible spending account] may save you more over the course of a year, even if the plan’s monthly cost is higher.”

Make Your Money Work for You

HSAs and flex accounts let you use pretax money to cover doctor visits, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses. Any money you don’t use can be rolled over from year to year as long as the accounts are set up that way.

“The opportunity to save and save efficiently is there,” Grubka said.

See: 10 Quick Ways To Spend Your Extra FSA Money Before the December 31 Deadline
Learn: How To Decide Between an FSA and an HSA

Another good idea is to take advantage of company-sponsored wellness plans that can improve your lifestyle and mental health. This in turn can lead to lower stress, fewer physical health problems and lower healthcare costs.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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