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Here’s How to Acquire Affordable Individual Health Insurance

Although the U.S. health care system is the envy of the world, there is still a huge health care crisis in our country
today. Over 100 million Americans either do not have health insurance or are grossly under- insured. The main
cause of this problem is the ever- increasing cost for health insurance plans.

Finding health insurance, especially individual insurance plans, is often difficult and is usually very expensive. But
such coverage doesn't have to "break the bank." Below are some ideas for reducing the costs (especially of
premiums) of individual health insurance plans:

Reduce the Level of Coverage
The most basic insurance purchasing decisions - what coverage to buy, what limits to set, and how much risk to
accept - are also the biggest factors in determining your costs. If you are a person who only goes to the doctor once
a year for an annual physical, don't require regular expensive prescription medications, and are generally healthy,
you may wish to consider cutting coverage for office visits and prescriptions. However, it is important to note the
risks associated with reducing your coverage. Remember that extra costs are associated with both over- insurance
(premium payments that don't provide you value) and under- insurance (insufficient coverage when you really need
it).

Consider Increasing Your Deductible
If you are reasonably healthy, rarely visit the doctor, and don't require expensive medications, think about switching
to a higher deductible to save on premium costs. By increasing your annual deductible to $2,500 or higher, you
can cut your premiums significantly.

Removal of Prescription Co- pay Plan?
For some individuals, forgoing a prescription co- pay plan can lower total yearly insurance costs. Depending on your
specific plan, prescriptions may still be covered after the annual deductible has been met. This option should be
carefully evaluated on an individual basis. If medicine costs for a patient are generally higher than average, this
option may not result in any savings. Of course, depending on the number of prescriptions you take and the level
of your co- pay for each, you may still be better off without a prescription co- pay plan. Once your deductible is met,
all expenses afterwards will be covered at whatever coinsurance level is outlined in your policy.

Preventative Health Measures
You know the old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure?

Well, it is especially true when it comes to reducing your health care costs. Take advantage of free health
screenings for diabetes, blood pressure, skin and prostate cancers, vision, and hearing at local clinics, hospitals, or
health fairs. Familiarize yourself with the early warning signs of potential health problems and consult a physician
ASAP. Some plans may offer discounts for active participation in sports programs or even if you have a gym
membership.

Keep accurate medical expense records so you can itemize deductions on your taxes. If you itemize deductions on
your income tax return, you can deduct expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Remember that
deductible expenses are only those not covered by your insurance.

Review Your Plan on a Yearly Basis
You should review your insurance strategy at least annually. A significant change in your situation should trigger a
more immediate review.