What is the old saying about certainties in life? Death, taxes and we might add rising health insurance costs. Increasing prescription drug costs, hospitalization costs and inflation are all major contributing factors to increasing health insurance costs. You can count on annual premium rate increases, but some carriers seem to do better than others in keeping their rates at a competitive level.
Many companies, as well as individuals that pay for their own health insurance respond by raising deductibles or changing to catastrophic plans. If you and your family members are generally healthy that may be a very good strategy, but if you take expensive brand name prescription drugs or have pre-existing conditions you may want to give this serious thought before making a hasty decision.
For people that do buy their own health insurance, keep in mind that it is easy to raise your deductible or downgrade your plan (because that reduces the risk to the insurance carrier), but the reverse is not true. Generally, if circumstances change in the future and you wish you had a lower deductible or better copay coverage for doctors office visits or prescriptions, you would basically need to reapply and go through underwriting again to upgrade your plan.
Why is this you might ask? Otherwise, everyone would sign up for a cheap high deductible plan and wait until they got sick and then switch to a lower deductible plan. The carriers need to protect themselves against this risk, by re-underwriting most requests for plan upgrades for individual plans in Colorado.
It does pay to shop and while rates can vary significantly from carrier to carrier, individual plan holders shouldn’t play musical chairs jumping to the plan with the lowest rate every year. Also look at the details of the new plan’s benefits and consider the carrier’s reputation for claim’s handling and service, as well as their past reputation for rate increases over the long run, as compared to other individual carriers in the same market area. When the music stops, and a family member has a serious illness or injury you might find it very difficult and/or expensive to change coverage in the future. At that point, you’ll be glad you took the time to select a good quality plan and carrier.
At Colorado Health Insurance Brokers, we try to help you to try and find an affordable quality health insurance plan and carrier you’ll be happy with, not just today, but next year and the year after that.