Due to the rising costs of prescription medicine and more variety of complex health services now offered among others, healthcare costs are on the up and up.
In fact, in 2018, the US spent a whopping $3.65 trillion for health care, the third highest compared to Germany, Russia, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, and Spain. (Only Germany and Russia were higher with healthcare spending.)
With wages not on the rise, now is the time for consumers to get the best health insurance in Texas as possible. Read on to learn these healthcare plan basics you don’t want to miss out on.
It Depends on What You Want
Healthcare isn’t a one-size-fits-all, with health insurance companies offering consumers HMOs, PPOs, HSAs, among others.
First and foremost, prioritize your healthcare needs. Do you prefer going to a specific doctor? Do you want low monthly premiums? Do you or a dependent have a pre-existing condition? Would you like the ability to save on healthcare costs?
In general, a preferred provider organization (PPO) plan will allow you more freedom choosing a doctor than a health maintenance organizations (HMO) plan but will most likely have a higher premium.
For a riskier surgery or treatment of a specific condition, having more choice over who will perform the surgery or specialist who will treat your condition can make all the difference—especially since generalists’ and specialists’ treatment outcomes and success rates are not all the same.
However, for more basic care and healthcare concerns, consumers may not have as much of a preference and would prefer the lower monthly premiums.
If you want to save on medical costs, in the long run, a healthcare savings account (HSA) may be your best bet.
Each year individuals can contribute $3,500 maximum (under the age of 50); $4,500 maximum (50 and older); and, for families, a limit of $7,000 (as of 2019). You cannot contribute anymore when you reach 65.)
What’s great about HSAs is that the earnings are tax exempt and are a great way to diversify your savings portfolio for retirement.
What About Medicare?
When it comes to best health insurance in Texas, if you’re 65 or older or have a disability or have end-stage renal disease, consider applying for Medicare, a government-funded program that assists in paying for healthcare costs.
As for low-income Texans, applying for Medicaid is another option. Medicaid is an assistance program that covers a part or all medical costs, with the qualifying consumer usually only paying a small copay.
Consider checking out Texas’ Health and Human Services’ page, which has information about Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
(CHIP is for children 18 years or younger who come from low-income families; like Medicaid (for adults), CHIP normally covers part or full healthcare costs.)
Short Term Health Insurance Could Be the Way to Go?
If you’ve missed open enrollment and don’t qualify for special enrollment and are healthy, short term health insurance is a cheap solution.
It normally costs less than your standard comprehensive healthcare plans since it usually covers less.
In general, short term medical insurance won’t cover prescription medication, maternity care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, or pre-existing conditions. And, even in some cases, sports injuries and preventative care.
Also, short term health insurance does not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) so healthcare consumers with pre-existing conditions may not be approved or may unexpectedly be kicked off.
That said, this may be something worth considering if you’re looking for coverage for 364 days (renewals up to 36 months) that will cover an unexpected trip to the ER.
More to Health Care Plans Than Meets the Eye
Healthcare plans don’t just differ by PPO, HMO, EPO (exclusive provider organizations), and so forth.
They also have different levels such as bronze, silver, gold, and platinum depending on the insurer and plan you’re interested in.
Usually, the higher the level, the higher the monthly premium you’ll have to shill out. However, the more coverage the insurer usually pays for.
Special Minimum Coverage Plans May Be an Option?
For consumers under age 30 or those over 30 that are experiencing financial hardship, health care companies may be able to offer you special minimum coverage plans.
These plans will have a low monthly premium but most likely will not offer the amount of coverage let’s say a PPO gold plan will. In any case, it’s worth researching.
Use These Healthcare Savings Costs With Cheapest Health Insurance in Texas to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
Did you know a cheap health insurance Texas plan isn’t your only way to save more when it comes to healthcare?
Save on Prescription Medicine Costs With or Without Health Insurance
Insured or uninsured, consider using sites like GoodRX and WeRX (which are the Travelocitys and Expedias of prescription medicine). The coupons may even be lower than your copay for your prescription. In any case, it’s another option.
Generic Is As Good as Name Brand
Ask your doctor if there’s a generic alternative if they prescribe you a name-brand medicine.
Remember, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), generic medicine is just as good as its name-brand cousin. So why not spend less money?
Non-Emergency? Go to Urgent Care No Matter
Usually, the best health insurance plans in Texas will cover part or full urgent care and emergency room costs.
But that doesn’t mean you always should be going to the ER when incident strikes. Fever? Flu? Sprain? Strain? Bypass the ER and go to Urgent Care instead.
Your wallet will thank you, as emergency room visits can easily jump up even with health insurance. And you could even experience a lower wait time.
The Takeaway: Best Health Insurance in Texas
According to KFF, in 2017, a whopping one in five uninsured adults went without necessary medical care because of cost.
With many resources like Medicaid, Medicare, COBRA, and short term health insurance, in combination with the number of different healthcare plans and levels, Texans have many options to choose from.
No matter what, make sure you do your research, reading the fine print, learning about ACA compliance, and shopping for quotes from the ACA marketplace and health insurance companies in Texas. Any more cheapest health insurance in Texas tips to offer? Leave a comment.