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How to Save Money on Health Insurance (and Save Your Health, too)

by DeAnne Lombardi

Do you know that your lifestyle choices effect how much you pay for health insurance? That’s right; if you smoke, are overweight, or drink too much alcohol, you may be paying higher insurance premiums than your healthier friends. Here are 4 ways to cut down on your health insurance fees, and improve your health at the same time.

health insurance

Quit Smoking

Applications for individually purchased insurance require you to state whether or not you smoke. Your smoking status affects how much you will have to pay. According to a study conducted by  eHealthinsurance, smokers pay premiums an average 14% higher than non-smokers.

This impacts female smokers more than men; women who smoke pay an average 22% higher in premiums than non-smoking women. So how can you reduce your cost? The answer is easier (or harder) than you may think…just quit! Along with reducing your premiums, you’ll save loads of money by not buying packs of cigarettes all the time. Learn a few ways to quit smoking, here.

Lose Weight

People with a higher body mass index (BMI) often pay more for insurance premiums. Adults over the age of 20 with a BMI of 30 or more pay an additional 22% on insurance than people with a healthier BMI. Some employers offer incentives to lose weight and improve your health, so check with your Human Resources team to see what programs are available at your workplace, if any.

Drink Less Alcohol

Insurance companies will ask how much alcohol you typically consume during the application process. While moderate consumption is alright, excessive consumption is not recommended and can cause you to pay more for insurance.

In addition to paying more, drinking in excess can lead to colorectal, stomach, breast and ovarian cancer, along with liver disease. So save your health, and your money, by learning ways to drink a little less.

Find a Better Job

When looking for a new job make sure you take a serious look at their insurance policy. There are different types of insurance out there. Each one has a certain purpose. The top three types are HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations), POS (Point of Service), and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). These plans set certain limits and coverages they will pay for. Things you’ll want to look for in an insurance plan are:

  • A way to balance the cost of a policy with the protection it offers
  • What you will have to pay yourself: deductibles, copayments, co-insurance, etc.
  • What isn’t covered and their costs
  • Whether the plan covers the services and medication you require
  • If the plan’s health care providers include your current providers
  • If the policy has some kind of maximum out-of-pocket limit on covered charges. (Avoid these!)

The Takeaway

Health insurance is a necessary expense. However, it doesn’t need to be as expensive as it is. If you smoke, are overweight, drink too much, or have a bad insurance plan, it’s time to make some changes so you can reduce your cost and improve your health.

Photo by Alex E. Proimos

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