According to recent studies conducted by Gallup and Rand Corporation, almost 15% of Americans do not have medical insurance coverage. Knowing how expensive the US healthcare is (in the World Health Organization rankings, even countries like Uganda do better in providing a sustainable and affordable healthcare to their citizens) a burning question raises in our heads:
How comes such a big group of people, living in the world’s first economy cannot afford even the most basic medical coverage?
The answer is pretty simple: insurance companies are vultures.
While an average premium insurance plan costs start from about $321 per month, in reality, these numbers can go as high as $500 per month. That’s almost 1/4 of the median wage.
Keep in mind that your budget is already burdened by rent, most likely a student loan and other monthly expenditures such as food and petrol.
The fact that insurance companies will raise the price for even the smallest deviation they find in your medical data doesn’t help.
Having said that, we’ve prepared a short list of things that can be done to make your insurance more affordable:
1. Stop smoking.
Everybody’s talking about the money you save on packs of cigarettes or long-term benefits such as healthy lungs, but all these evangelists forget about one simple fact – your insurance company is very likely to charge you 30%-50% more just for the fact that you follow this nasty, expensive habit.
2. Lose weight.
The list of dangerous conditions, it makes you more likely to get is pretty long. The most common one – diabetes – comes with an average lifetime cost of almost $85,000 and is likely to be followed by additional issues such as high blood pressure.
Among the less discussed ones are severe spine problems. A 2016 study by the Global Spine Journal says that more than 50% of people with diagnosed obesity are likely to develop pathologies requiring operational treatment and long-term recovery.
Facing such grim promises of the future, it is not surprising that insurance companies raise their rates for obese people to offset the extra risks.
3. Start exercising.
Be prepared that even if you aren’t obese, the insurance company will ask you about your lifestyle.
Even 30 minutes of exercise every day is enough to release a nice shot of endorphins.
Have you ever heard about them? They are one of the so-called happiness hormones that lift up your mood while reducing stress and anxiety. It is important for insurance companies that your stress level is low (quite paradoxical, seeing that their prices always increase it) for it is the best natural way of preventing depression, which again is a hellishly costly treat.
4. Buy online.
This one is simple – use online programs to compare costs and when you choose the one that suits you, make sure you buy it online, directly from the company. This avoids any costs using middleman services which can increase the price by almost 10%
Now you’re probably holding your head and thinking “What? How?”.
The easiest way is to look around for a friend or relative who knows a bit about medicine and ask them about stuff you don’t have to include in your insurance.
It makes absolutely zero sense to pay for obstetrics or IVF if you are in the mature stage of your life. And last but not least:
6. Be friendly.
Being friendly and asking about your premium in a polite way is the best way to learn about available discounts and cost reductions.