Health insurance is expensive here in Arkansas just as it is everywhere else in the country. In fact, health insurance is so expensive that approximately 17% of the citizens of Arkansas have no health insurance coverage at all, and with prices continuing to rise and more and more companies canceling their group coverage, the situations promises to get worse before it gets better.
If you have been trying to purchase health insurance but you’ve been turned down or told you will have to pay extraordinarily high rates because of a pre-existing condition or for other similar reasons, there may be a solution for you.
It’s called the Comprehensive Health Insurance Pool, or CHIP. This is a special program created by the state of Arkansas. You do not need to be poor to qualify for coverage. If you’d like more information you can find it at http://www.chiparkansas.org.
Fortunately, for those of us who do not qualify for CHIP insurance, there are a few things we can do to keep the monthly cost of our health insurance affordable – although it may be necessary to think about health insurance in a whole new way.
But before we do that let’s look at a few simple things you can do to lower your monthly premium. Let’s start with your copay – the amount of money you pay out of your own pocket every time you visit your doctor’s office or have virtually any medical care. Typically your copay may be 20% or 25%. If you can afford to increase your copay to 50% you can save considerably on your monthly insurance premium.
This strategy obviously works best for people who do not see their doctor on a regular basis.
If you smoke, stop. If you are overweight do everything humanly possible to lose at least a few pounds. Smoking and being overweight can add considerably to the cost of your health insurance.
If this strategy isn’t enough, then consider increasing your deductible. Go over your finances carefully in order to determine just how much you can actually afford to pay each year for your own health care needs. The more you can pay out of your own pocket – in other words the higher your deductible – then the lower your monthly health insurance premium is going to be.
If you own a home, or if you have a savings account or if you have any other assets that you are counting on for later in life, then it is vital that you have some form of health insurance. The reason for this is because just one accident or one major illness and you could amass medical bills in the tens of thousands or even the hundreds of thousands of dollars in less than the blink of an eye.
In such a case you could lose your home, your life savings and any other assets you have worked so hard to accumulate.
The answer for many people is what is known as an ultra-high deductible health insurance policy. These are policies with a yearly deductible of $2,000 or even $3,000. In a normal year these policies will never pay one penny toward your health costs – you will foot your health care bills as if you didn’t have any health insurance at all.
Why would you buy such a policy then? Because a super-high deductible policy is very inexpensive and if you do have a catastrophic accident or you suffer a terrible illness, this high-deductible policy will pay those tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs, saving your home and your other assets.
Whatever your decisions regarding copays, deductibles, smoking and weight that you’ve made, now is the time to go online and make comparisons between various policies and insurance companies and look at their prices side-by-side.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just makes comparisons on one website. Each site only compares a few companies. If you want to see the rates of all the different companies you will have to make comparisons on at least 3 different websites. It’s more time and effort to do that, but the result is that you will know once and for all that you really did get the best rates on health insurance in the state of Arkansas.