After home and living expenses such as rent or a mortgage, for a good number of American families healthcare can be the next greatest expenditure, and for many a big part of that overall healthcare cost can be their health insurance premium. However, according to financial experts, when it comes to preparing your family’s budget, there are ways to reduce both your health insurance cost, and what you pay for healthcare in general. Whether you are shopping for the first time for health insurance, or are looking for a new plan to reduce your monthly payments, here are 10 suggestions that can lead to a lower health insurance quote, and more affordable healthcare:1. Stop Smoking – Depending on where you live you can save over $200.00 a month on the costs of cigarettes alone. As far as a health insurance quotes goes, non-smokers always pay significantly less than smokers for any policy. According to a recent study, even though smokers generally have a shorter lifespan than non-smokers, they pay a third more in overall healthcare than non-smokers throughout their lifetime.2. Reduce Weight – Again weight plays a significant factor when getting a health insurance quote, it’s a fact that if you are overweight you will pay more. Obesity is becoming one of the greatest drains on our healthcare system. According to a recent study by the Rand Corporation, being obese adds $395 each year to your average per-year health care costs, more than smoking (an addition of $230), aging 20 years ($225), and problem drinking ($150).3. Get More Exercise – While it may be hard to put a quantitative amount on how much you can save on a health insurance quote by exercising and getting in shape – regular exercise will not only reduce weight (see above) but can also improve cardio-vascular health and reduce other risk factors that lead to higher costs for health insurance and medical care.4. Select a Higher Deductible – A higher deductible and higher co-pay will surely result in a lower health insurance quote, and may qualify you for a Health Savings Account (HSA) which can help defray the costs of the higher deductible.5. Read and be Sure you Understand your Health Plan – you would be surprised at how many consumers pay more for healthcare simply because the do not know the details of their own heath insurance plan.6. “Cheaper” isn’t always more “Affordable” – When it comes to a health insurance quote you must pick a plan that is right for you and your lifestyle. Cheaper doesn’t always mean more affordable in the long run. If you go for a health insurance quote with a smaller monthly premium, but if you have health problems and must make many doctors visits the high deductible or higher co-pay may cost you more in the long run. Choose a plan that is right for you.7. Consolidate Your Health Plans -if you and your spouse both have separate health plans you may save money by consolidating under a single plan.8. Be Proactive – and you can save money. For example know before you need them what if any ambulance services in your area are covered by your insurance, and when and if your regular physician is available after hours.9. Be willing to Negotiate with Your Doctor – most physicians will offer reduced or discounted rates to patients with no or limited insurance.10. Reduce the costs of Prescription Drugs – if you have heath insurance with prescription drug coverage, take advantage of the “lower tier” by asking your doctor to prescribe generic drugs, even if you do not have prescription drug coverage look into the discount programs offered by many drug companies and retail pharmacies.
Officially, an Agent is an individual or company that acts on behalf of the insurance company to market, sell and service insurance. The Agent has a contract with the insurance companies in order to represent a specific insurance company. A broker is person who also contracts with insurance company but officially acts on behalf of you the client. All agent and agencies are compensated by the insurance companies and therefore are at no cost to you. The difference between agent and agency is that agent is individual contracted with insurance companies and agency usually has many agent working under umbrella of the agency. In most cases agents working under agency are employees.Agents role is to find best possible and the most affordable option for your money. In most cases there is no incentive on the agent’s part of which company you decide to go with. How agents get paid by the insurance company is strictly regulated by the insurance commissioner. When looking for agency or agent make sure that they are brokers who represent as many health insurance companies as possible. There are dozens of plans on the market, therefore finding agent who can get you the best possible plan for your money will save you thousands long term. Just looking a rate quote and benefit summary is only half of the story when choosing health insurance. Some plans exclude certain benefits or apply caps to other types of coverage. Agents know the lay of the land and you would personally not want to purchase health insurance just based on a rate quote.Some insurance companies have captive agent representing them. Captive agents can only represent one insurance company. They are essentially employees for that company. I would avoid such companies as they may not have the best interest of the client at heart. If a company cannot quote multiple carriers, beware. The major carriers in California are Blue Cross of California, Blue Shield of California, Health Net, Pacificare, and Kaiser. Beyond these five, we do not feel very secure about the others.How are agents or brokers paid? Agents are paid a commission by the carriers for policies issued and in force. The commission tends to be about the same from carrier to carrier. This commission does not affect the rate. The insurance rate you will get through an agent/broker is the same as you would get going directly through the insurance company. The benefit of the agent relationship is that they navigate the insurance company to expedite processing, help with service issues once enrolled, and act a third party. Insurance company’s main interest to keep you enrolled as policy subscriber but your interest may actually lie with another insurance company or plan. An independent broker can help bridge the two at no additional cost to you.What to expect from your broker/agent?This really is the most difficult part and it is the reason that people put off getting health insurance. There are many plans and the language is pretty technical. Most people glaze over when they see the brochures or instant quote results. Let’s face it….health insurance is not a common purchase. Typically, people have not needed to shop health insurance in years…if ever. With a few targeted questions, the plan selections can be narrowed down significantly. With great agent you wish you would have called they earlier rather than try to navigate the volumes of information provided the plans. Most Insurance agent do not sell. They listen, advise, and then it’s up to you what you wish to do.California application and enrollment.The health application is one more reason that people procrastinate. There are sections in there are mandated by law but which are thoroughly confusing such as the HIPAA qualification. Small Group can be equally difficult in terms of qualification for Small Group health coverage. Insurance agents are happy to walk you through the application once a plan has been decided on. This is also the time to ask about the process, payment options, cancellation options, time table for enrolling in coverage.Health Insurance Service and Membership.Once the plan is in effect, agent is your point of contact for membership issues, claims, and future changes. Agents go in at the end of each month and make sure that faxed changes, additions, and requests have been processed correctly. The insurance companies are pretty good but 1 out of 100 requests do not show in the system. You do not want to be that one with such a critical issues as your health insurance. We can also advise for ways to reduce costs when the rate increase occur based on your changing health insurance needs.Keep in mind that you can always contact the carrier directly if you choose but why would you? Let Insurance agent do the work for you since there is no additional cost to you.Agents and brokers are required to have a license and continuing education by the California Department of Insurance. You can always research an agent’s history, insurance company contracts, and other information through them. There are different types of licenses. The two most common are Life/Health which is used to transact California health insurance and Property and Casualty is used to transact insurance such as auto or home insurance.
Actually, “Educational television” by the name only means the use of television for educational purposes. There is a trend of using television programs as medium for education in distance learning courses. This can be of two different types in their basic design, the first kind of educational television being a particular program on television that can be referred to for some learning purpose and the next kind of educational television is of employing a complete channel dedicated to knowledge programs those are subscribed for various educational purposes. These channels are generally under the regulations of and associated with the cable television in the United States of America and are known as Public Educational and Government (PEG) access channels. These specialty channels can be a source of any kind of information and knowledge shows which may be targeted to a certain group of students.In addition to these there are also adult education channels which are mainly for post secondary students and can help them earn college credits. These channels generally broadcast content for an older viewership and are also referred to as “instructional television” at times. The shows on these instructional televisions are usually less than an hour or even half in duration so that they can be accommodated within a class timing and also are not too lengthy to make you feel bore and lose interest. Examples of these are shows like the Open University programs on BBC and the likes of it. The instructional television shows can sometimes be combined with teachers’ guides and are often broadcasted on the Public Broadcasting Service stations of the United States of America. These days they are also featured on digital sub-channels and on Non commercial educational public stations. However, they can also be passed on to some Educational access televisions which are mainly run by a Public Educational and Government access channels of the cable TV organization of America.Speaking of Public Educational and Government access channels also known as PEG channels or Local access channels and consist of three different types of specialty channels on cable television. They are Public Access television and Educational access television and Government access television.Public access television is free of editorial control and is a non-commercial design of mass media where anybody i.e. any common person can develop and broadcast video programs by buying the slot for a minimal charge or even for free at times. The content of these shows are generally community interestsEducational access channels are those which are solely concerned with educational programs and are a part of “educational television” for distance learning courses. These channels are also sometimes inducted in school curriculums as a part of their distance education program. Educational access television is synchronous with educational technology and the channels do broadcast instructional television programs within the city limits of that cable operator.Government access channels are on the other hand channels airing various government proceedings to the general people of the nation.