November 6, 2012

7 ways to save on 2013 health insurance

Your personal circumstances are likely to determine your best options for coverage and savings.

By Marcia Heroux Pounds, McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 1)

Note that contributions for flexible spending accounts have been lowered to $2,500 in 2013, but Byers said she doesn't think it will affect most people. "I don't see many people using the full $5,000," she said.

Employers that offer high-deductible plans also may have the option of a health savings account, which also allows pre-tax dollars to be socked away. The difference: In a flexible spending account, money must be used by year-end, while a health savings account rolls over to the next year. If you have a number of healthy years where you don't use what you deposit, you could rack up extra retirement savings.

"Take advantage of the services that can help you save money," Byers said.

Mix and match coverage. Your spouse or domestic partner may have less expensive coverage. Or it may be less expensive for certain family members to be insured on an individually purchased health plan. Note that employer-based plans are more likely to cover pregnancy, according to eHealthInsurance.

Mendosa said some employees may find their employer's health plan no longer meets their needs _ perhaps they need a brand-name prescription and the plan only covers generics. Or perhaps the monthly cost for premiums is more than the employee can afford. If you have no pre-existing conditions, look at options to purchase insurance on your own.

But don't cancel or un-enroll from existing coverage until approved for a new one, he said.

Review coverage options for adult children. Since 2010, the health care law has allowed adult children to retain coverage under a parent's health insurance policy until age 26. But make sure adult children who live in another state have access to your in-network health care providers.

 

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