Traditional health insurance can be expensive, even with programs offered through Obamacare. And when you’re ready to sign-up for healthcare, it can often be time consuming and confusing, especially for recent grads.
Thankfully, there are a few options that will help you pay for good medical coverage, without breaking the bank. If you’re wondering how to lower healthcare costs, here are three budget-friendly health insurance alternatives you can choose from.
How to lower healthcare costs
1. Join a healthshare program
Healthshare programs, also known as health care sharing ministries, are set up based on your religious or political beliefs.
These non-profit entities allow you to control your own health care coverage a bit more by pooling your financial resources, and those of other individuals in the same program. It’s not considered health insurance, but more of a health care cost sharing arrangement.
Instead of a traditional deductible, members of a health sharing program are usually subject to an annual fee and pledge to pay specific amounts of money, out of their own pockets. It’s basically an account you set aside money into, much like a traditional health insurance plan.
The barrier for applying to one of these programs is fairly low. You’ll have to provide information on your health conditions, medical history, and any political or religious beliefs you have.
However, you could be denied into a healthshare program for pre-existing conditions. Or, you may have to pay a higher monthly price as you strive to get back on track with a healthier lifestyle.
The largest and most popular health sharing ministries in the U.S. include:
Keep in mind that health sharing programs usually only cover healthcare expenses related to large and unforeseen medical emergencies. Or, things like a yearly checkup.
Dental, vision and cosmetic health care costs are not usually covered by healthshare programs. However, you can use your member-only savings or discount programs to negotiate lower costs.
2. Open a Health Savings Account
A Health Savings Account (also known as an HSA) is a tax-advantaged bank account that’s available to individuals who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
Essentially, you contribute your own funds into an HSA in order to pay for the high deductible that comes with your HDHP coverage.
The great thing about a Health Savings Account is that you have more control over how your funds are used. And, they can roll over year after year, even if you don’t spend all of your money in it.
Additionally, your HSA IS tax deductible and not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit.
What’s more, you may withdraw your funds without any penalty or tax liability at any time. You just have to make sure you use the money to pay for qualified medical expenses, such as:
- Health insurance plans deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance
- Certain health premiums, including COBRA
- Psychiatric and certain psychological treatments
- Long-term care services
- Prescription drugs
- Dental services
- Vision care including glasses and Lasik eye surgery
- Medical transportation and lodging
Once your account reaches a certain balance you’re usually able to earn interest on your HSA. Some financial institutions also give you the choice of investing the unused funds in your HSA.
Thanks to the flexibility and control it offers for account holders, an HSA is a great budget-friendly option to traditional health insurance.
3. Apply for a discount savings card
Another good way to save money on health insurance costs is to apply for a medical discount savings card.
Many local pharmacies, including Walgreens and CVS, offer their own programs to members for a low annual cost. Visit eHealth online and see how much you can save on medically-related purchases for you, your spouse, and your children with a discount card.
In most cases, the pharmacy or medical program will guarantee savings throughout the year equal to, or more than, the annual fee you’re charged.
And the best part is that there are no pre-qualifications or medical records needed to apply. So there’s really no risk in applying for a discount savings program.
Reducing healthcare costs
At the end of the day, having health insurance lets you sleep better knowing your medical needs are covered.
If you’re struggling with traditional health insurance, these budget-friendly options are a good place to start. Don’t let health care costs stand in the way of peace of mind.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|