Shopping Tips for Health Insurance

Increasingly, consumers are faced with the challenge of selecting and purchasing their own health insurance or supplemental insurance. Many are doing this for the first time.

The good news, experts say, is that by doing their homework, consumers can determine the kind of coverage they need and can often cut premiums substantially.

According to Alan Snyder, CEO and founder of Answer Financial Inc., "There are ways to reduce the cost while getting proper coverage that most people don't consider. One way is simply to comparison shop and there's nothing easier than doing it online or having an unbiased expert doing the shopping for you."

Snyder offers these ideas for controlling your health care insurance premiums:

• Comparison shop. You may be able to save money by exploring higher deductibles, a sensible option for young adults. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium. Compare benefits, deductibles and premiums and make sure, if you have a preferred physician, that he or she is in the plan.

• Practice preventive care. Explore preventive health screenings that are appropriate for your age and gender with your physician.

• Understand health risks. Good lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and eating vegetables and fruits, have proven to make a positive difference on health even when started in older years.

• Take an active role in health care decisions. Take the time to build a good relationship with your doctor and participate actively in your care. Your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives that are less risky and costly.

• Know what your medical benefits cover. Study the medical benefits of various plans and always compare before you purchase.

• Consider same day surgery or out patient services. More than half of all health care costs are for hospitalization.

• Save the emergency room for emergencies. Emergency room charges can be much more costly than a doctor's visit. These visits will also drive up your premium.

• Check your hospital and doctor bills carefully. Notify your hospital and health plan promptly when errors are found.

Answer Financial Inc. offers ratings of a range of insurance products online. To learn more, visit

If you have a preferred physician, you may want to check to see if he or she participates in the insurance plan you select.

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