By this point, you have either read about or experienced the increase in health insurance costs. But what is the real cost of health insurance? How much can you expect to pay for health insurance this year, next year, and in retirement?
Yearly Health Insurance Costs
Yearly health insurance costs can a be broken down in a few different ways. Premiums are a good place to start. The average individual can expect to pay $321 per month in health insurance premiums, according to eHealth.
However, the average yearly healthcare cost for indiviudals balloons to over $10,345 when you consider out-of-pocket costs, premiums, copays and of course medical bills. This is an average cost so that number can vary significantly based on age, lifestyle and of course pre-existing medical conditions.
Calculating your expected yearly health insurance costs is a little art and a little science. Consider reviewing your cost over the last few years to understand your average yearly cost. Then make sure to review your plan details with a fine tooth comb to make sure you are covered for every “just in case”.
Health Insurance Deductible, Out-of-Pocket Maximums, and Premiums
Health costs have varied levels of set expected monthly costs and potential, unexpected cost structures.
- Healthcare premiums keep rising each year, but at least they are easy to understand. These costs are the monthly set cost for insurance coverage. If you are lucky, your employer helps pay for some (if not all) of these costs.
- Health insurance deductibles included your out-of-pocket payments and cost before your insurance kicks in. However, there are free, preventative services that are provided at no cost for many Americans, so keep those in mind.
- Out-of-pocket maximums create the greatest opportunity for health cost each year. Based on required coverage and medical claims that cost can skyrocket. What qualifies as an in-network vs. out-of-network can impact your financial costs as it related to the yearly out-of-pocket maximum. Make sure your out-of-pocket health insurance maximum is close if not equal to your out-of-pocket financial requirement.
Healthcare Retirement Costs
You might be thinking retirement is just water aerobics and air-conditioning. In fact, couples can expect to pay $275,000 in health costs in retirement. This in on top of existing Medicare coverage. If you aren’t planning for these costs, it might be time to start.
How to Maximize Your Healthcare and Savings
As you can see above, or quickly forecast, healthcare costs can really add up. What can you do to limit your financial exposure and still get the best health insurance coverage?
- Understand Coverage – Comparing health plans usually starts with cost. Ignoring coverage options can be a mistake. Cost might be your gating factor, as you can only afford what you can afford, but take notice of subtle coverage differences. In network vs. out-of-network fees can make a big difference in your out-of-pocket costs requirements.
- Save Before You Need it – No one wants to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Putting money aside ensures you have a financial nest egg for unexpected health costs. With healthcare, there is always a just in case.
- Find the Loopholes – Cheating is not allowed, encouraged or in anyway condoned. But if you can save more, legally, you should consider every opportunity that arises. Did you know any person under 26 who is not a tax dependent and covered under your HSA-qualifying HDHP, can contribute up to the annual family contribution limit ($6,900)? What an amazing way to save money early so you have it for years to come! Or did you know that with an HSA, after the age of 65, you can use it for anything, not just health expenses? Just pay income taxes at that time. In that way, it’s like a 401k or IRA but has no mandatory distributions.
It’s hard to find a way to beat the health care system and keep costs low. By understanding the system, you can work it to your advantage. It will take some time, but in the end, your bank account will thank you!
If you need more help with health account decisions, check out our blog. We will make you a healthcare benefits expert in no time, without any extra work or effort on your end.
Disclaimer: the content presented in this article are for informational purposes only, and is not, and must not be considered tax, investment, legal, accounting or financial planning advice, nor a recommendation as to a specific course of action. Investors should consult all available information, including fund prospectuses, and consult with appropriate tax, investment, accounting, legal, and accounting professionals, as appropriate, before making any investment or utilizing any financial planning strategy.