(NewsUSA) - The overwhelming mass of uninsured Americans is firsthand evidence that health insurance is too expensive -- as if we didn't already know.
On average, middle-income families with individual coverage spend 22 percent of their income on health care. Others pay up to 50 percent of their household income on health coverage, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
To avoid paying more for less quality coverage, it's essential to compare insurance options and gather as many quotes as possible. There are, however, some other ways to save money on health insurance, too.
Check out five tricks and tips to save on health coverage:
1. If you get a call from an insurance provider as part of an application process, do not divulge any additional details. Since these calls are usually recorded, disclosing extra info could come back to bite you as a higher premium.
2. Know your insurance policy well, and review it when needed. You should know precisely what services and costs are and are not covered. Visiting in-network doctors, for example, can save a lot of money. In the event of complex surgeries or assessments, ask both the doctor and insurance provider explicitly what is covered before undergoing a procedure.
3. Exhaust group insurance options before buying an individual policy. Group insurance is always cheaper, but if your employer doesn't offer health insurance, or if you're self-employed, consider other group options. Groups like labor unions, fraternal and business organizations, student associations and other special-interest groups may offer coverage.
4. Consider reputable discount opportunities. Several states offer discount programs, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and the Together Rx Access Card both save money on medication costs. Also, a new consumer-driven movement called All Our Power emerged recently that provides group buying power for individuals. As more people join the movement at www.allourpower.com, AOP negotiates with top insurance companies to secure lower rates for its members.
5. Regardless of your coverage, ask physicians and hospitals about paying for services in cash. Many hospitals offer huge discounts for patients paying in cash, but your insurance provider likely won't be forthcoming about that tidbit.