3 Tips to Reduce Your Health Insurance Premium

by Dorothy Wheaton

The cost of medical care and medical insurance is skyrocketing in the United States. Even if you have a great health plan from your employer, chances are pretty good you’ve seen your premiums increase over the last several years.

In fact, it’s likely that you’re not absorbing a greater share of your health care costs than ever before. This is especially true for those individuals who must provide their own medical coverage.

What you may not realize, however, is that there are ways you can save on your medical insurance. In many cases, medical insurance providers are willing to adjust your premiums based on specific healthy lifestyle choices you make.

In other cases, your employer will get a break on health care costs by implementing certain health programs, and may even pass those savings along to you.

Here are some tips that will help you live longer and healthier, and that might even save you some money along the way:

1. Participate in an Employer-Sponsored Exercise Program

No one needs to tell you how important it is that you get regular exercise. You know the health benefits. You’ve had them drilled into your brain by every TV talk show, doctor, and fitness expert around. In fact, many of us already participate in an exercise program, belong to a gym, or otherwise engage in physical activity.

In some cases, however, your employer might offer you the opportunity to participate in a program that will not only give you the exercise you need, but reduce your medical premiums as well. If that’s the case, you’d be silly not to take advantage of it.

That program might take the form of a company gym, or perhaps the company paying a portion of your gym membership. It might take the form of employer-sponsored exercise events and activities.

If your employer doesn’t currently offer an exercise program, consider talking to your boss (or HR professional in a larger company) about adding this as both a benefit to employees and a way to reduce medical premiums.

2. Get Regular Physical Exams

Getting a regular physical just makes sense. It pays off for you in a number of ways. Regular checkups help to diagnose health problems early. For example, your chances of surviving certain types of cancer increases by a factor of five simply by detecting it six months earlier than you otherwise might.

Regular screenings – including mammograms and annual visits for women or prostate screenings for men – can head off many health problems at the pass. Screening for diabetes can mean early intervention, often preventing the onset of more serious health problems down the road.

Some health care plans will offer you a reduction in premiums for doing some of these regular health maintenance type visits. These regular visits are usually covered by insurance; so it’s not as if you’re going to have to pay out of pocket.

3. Quit Smoking

It’s not 1950 anymore. It’s not even 1980. The fact of the matter is that we’re much more educated about the dangers of smoking than we ever have been. In most states you can’t smoke in the workplace, or even inside any business. There are even areas where some legislators and activists are trying to make it illegal to smoke in any public location – including outdoors.

Quitting isn’t easy, of course. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources you can use to help get through. Most states offer smoking cessation programs. Many insurance companies provide this as a benefit, as well.

There are even medical aids and prescriptions that may be able to help you with your attempt to quit smoking. Check with your doctor, your health insurance company, and even your employer to see what kinds of resources might be available.

Employers can often get a break on their insurance premiums simply by offering and encouraging participation in smoking cessation programs.

In many ways, these three tips are no-brainers. Exercise has been proven to extend your life significantly. Catching diseases and other illnesses early is key to controlling the damage they can cause. Stopping smoking helps you breathe easier, and live longer. Surprisingly enough, each of these things may help reduce your medical premiums, too.

Talk to your employer or your medical insurance provider today about things you might be able to do to decrease the cost of your health insurance.

(Dorothy Wheaton, PA-C, is the lead clinical provider for Careworks Convenient Healthcare, a US company operating health clinics and urgent care centers in the Northeast United States.)

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