bag-15709_1920You may have seen in the news that Tennessee health insurance carriers are demanding some hefty premium increases in the coming year. Not only for individuals shopping in the marketplace, but also for employers who offer group coverage and for the employees who participate in it.

With the ever-increasing fines associated with the individual mandate, under the Affordable Care Act, opting out of health insurance isn’t really an option (unless you qualify for an exception). So how, as a health insurance consumer, can you help keep the rising costs at bay?

Well the good news is, while you can’t get out of paying for coverage, you can do a few things to help offset any premium increases.

Narrow your network.

In insurance terms, your “network” is the group of doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers that have contracts with your insurance company. If you visit an “in-network” provider, you’ll likely pay less.

As you would expect, plans that have the largest networks–in other words, those with the highest number of providers–generally demand the highest premiums. By choosing a plan with a smaller network, you’ll access to fewer providers. But you’ll also pay less.

Increase your out-of-pocket.

When you opt to share more of the costs for your health care, the result is a lower premium. For example, health insurance plans with high deductibles require you to pay more up front before your coverage kicks in. But you’ll pay less on a monthly basis and hopefully end up paying less in the long run.

A plan with a high deductible or other out-of-pocket expenses is a great option is you don’t expect to encounter any major health issues over the coming year. Just make sure you’re prepared to cover the costs you are responsible for.


Shop around.

It may not seem strange to comparison shop when you’re buying a TV or deciding which plumber to use. But price-shopping for health care, on the other hand, is a relatively new phenomenon.

However, it’s only logical, especially when the patient is footing a bigger portion of the bill, to shop around for the best price. Doctors and hospitals are becoming more and more accustomed to this practice, so price-shopping for health care is getting easier by the minute.

Have patience.

A big reason healthcare costs are on the rise is that this industry has weathered many changes in the past decade. There’s still hope that as patients and providers learn to adapt to and manage these changes, the rate of increase will slow down.

Until then, be a savvy and informed consumer when it comes to making decisions about your healthcare spending. And let us know if we can help.