The most important factor in obtaining low cost insurance is to have an analysis run of all available plans. Whether you are looking for a policy in the individual market or have coverage through your employer it is important to do a thorough comparison of all available choices. Usually the individual market offers a larger selection of options. However, premiums can vary depending on a number of factors including your age, address & health. In the employer based market, your plan availability is usually more limited but you have the advantage of possibly have your premiums tax deductible, no pre-existing conditions waiting period and guaranteed issue.
Working with a broker can help you navigate the many options available.
Greg Levin, CFP® LPL Financial
Due to industry regulations, the advisor may not post additional reply comments. If you would like to contact the author, please email him at Gregory.Levin@LPL.com. Securities and Advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.
The single most important factor in your ability to get and pay for health insurance is your own health.
While I've rarely seen this mentioned by financial advisors, you can impact a big part of your health insurance eligibility and costs by achieving and maintaining healthy habits. This is something you control and you're empowered to do something about it.
And to be clear, health isn't just about losing weight. In my opinion, if you're truly healthy, weight likely won't be a problem, but the idea of health also spans diet, exercise, getting outside, and many more aspects that will have a positive effect on your blood pressure, your blood work, your weight, stress levels and many other areas that impact your overall well-being and your health insurance costs.
Something to think about . . .
Do you work for an employer or are you self emplyed?
Another alternative is a high deductible insurance policy combined with a health savings account (HSA). Your fixed premiums will very likely be lower but you must pay the first say $2,500 - $5,000 out of your own pocket (or HSA that you funded). This must be compared to lower deductible alternatives depending on your circumstances but since you are paying the bill, it can have a wonderful behavioral effect on how you view health services and your personal cost/benefit.
Just to reiterate what's been said above, if you have access to an employer-provided policy, that will always be better than an individual or self-employed arrangement due to the leverage of group rates, and in my experience, they are also better than association policies. That being said, insurance is regulated on a statewide basis and the types and access to plans varies widely based on which state you're in. Also, needless to say, in 2014, the market for individuals and small businesses, in particular, is going to be affected by the implementation of the Exchanges under the Health Reform Act.