Tuesday, June 15, 2010

save money on insurance

Insurance is one of life’s necessary evils. We pay the premiums every year even if we don’t use any of the benefits; it’s something we do “just in case”. I often think of how much money we could save by not having health insurance, but then I quickly remind myself that there are very few things that can blow a budget like unexpected medical bills. Even if you save and invest, your finances can be torn apart by unforeseen health problems.

Even though medical insurance can be expensive, there are a few things you can (and should) do to make sure you’re not paying more than you have to:

1. Keep your Information Organized:

Of course, I would suggest this! But in all honesty, you can save a lot of time, money, and stress by organizing your insurance and medical information in one, easily accessible area.

2. Understand your Insurance Policy:

Insurance policies can be are confusing. Take the time to read, and re-read, your policy to be sure you understand what is covered and what you are responsible for. Know what your deductibles are and what doctors are included in your network. Know how your plan works in the case of emergencies and don’t be afraid to call your insurance provider with any questions.

3. Pay Attention to your Bills:

Don’t assume your medical bills are accurate. In the last year, I have personally been overcharge 3 times! Take the time to carefully read all your medical bills and make sure to ask questions if something seems wrong. Believe me; you care more about your money than your insurance company or your doctors, so take charge of the situation.

4. Always Look for a Deal:

You’ll never know unless you ask. Some places will offer you a deal and some won’t… so pack up your pride and just ask! Even if you have insurance, you may still be able to save big bucks by negotiating with your provider’s financial office. I recently had a filling at the dentist and negotiated a lesser fee base on the amount my insurance covered. I saved about $20.00 on just one filling!

5. Be Smart About your Prescriptions:

Don’t necessarily assume that brand name drugs are “better” than generic. You could save as much as 75% just by asking your doctor or pharmacist if your prescription comes in a generic form. Also, make sure you shop around for the best price and always look for coupons. Even if you do get the generic, prices can still vary. Call around to different pharmacies and see what their prices are and if they have any coupon offers for transferring a prescription to their store.

6. Stay Healthy:

This may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to save on insurance is to stay healthy. Regular exercise and a proper diet reduce the risk of many diseases and improve self-esteem, both of which will help with your pocketbook.

As with all things in life, spending a bit of time upfront can save you lots of time and money in the long run. Take a few moments this afternoon to get your insurance and medical papers in order and see how much money you can save.

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