insurance

Pick a Better Health Insurance Policy

Use our strategies during open enrollment to get the best coverage at the best price.

For years, health care costs have been marching steadily upward, and insurers have been raising premiums to keep pace. You can expect more of the same in 2019. The average cost of employer-provided medical and drug benefits is expected to rise 5% next year, according to the National Business Group on Health's survey of large employers -- the sixth consecutive year of 5% increases. But your choices during open enrollment may look a little less bleak because many employers are offering more coverage choices, larger contributions to health savings accounts and new tools to help you reduce your costs.

If you buy coverage on your own, you may have been pummeled by massive rate hikes for several years. But premiums are finally stabilizing and even dropping in some states. In several states, you may have more insurers to choose from as new companies enter -- or return to -- the health care exchanges. If you earn too much to qualify for a subsidy, you have several new plan options that carry lower premiums—but also extra risks.

Whether you get your health insurance from your employer or on your own, the following strategies can help you get the best coverage at the best price.

How to Get the Best Employer Health Coverage for 2019

Most people get their health insurance through their employer, and even though the options are usually better and the premiums more stable than for people who buy their own coverage, their premiums and deductibles have been rising steadily. But if you follow these simple strategies, you may be able to increase your coverage and decrease your costs.

How to Get the Best Individual Health Policy in 2019

The options are very different if you are buying insurance on your own. After a tumultuous few years—when many insurers stopped selling individual health insurance or repeatedly boosted premiums by double digits -- the market is turning around. More insurers are selling individual policies again or expanding into new counties and states, and now fewer areas are left with only one insurance option. Here's what you need to know.

How to Make the Most of a Health Savings Account

Higher health insurance deductibles have a silver lining: You can contribute to a health savings account. To qualify, you must have an HSA-eligible health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $1,350 for individual coverage or $2,700 for family coverage -- whether you get insurance through your employer or on your own.

Also, this powerful account provides a triple tax benefit: Your contributions are tax-deductible (or pretax if made through your employer), your money grows tax-deferred, and you can use the money tax-free to pay deductibles, co-payments, prescription drug costs, out-of-pocket dental and vision costs, and other eligible expenses.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
9 Great Growth ETFs for 2022 and Beyond
ETFs

9 Great Growth ETFs for 2022 and Beyond

These growth ETFs offer exposure to higher-risk, higher-reward stocks while lessening the risk of a single stock torpedoing your returns.
January 18, 2022
The 10 Best Closed-End Funds (CEFs) for 2022
CEFs

The 10 Best Closed-End Funds (CEFs) for 2022

These high-yielding CEFs won't just significantly boost your portfolio income. They'll also allow you to buy their underlying stocks and bonds at a di…
January 12, 2022

Recommended

Virtual Reality Turns Games Into Treatments
happy retirement

Virtual Reality Turns Games Into Treatments

Seniors are utilizing virtual reality programs to boost physical therapy, fight acute and chronic pain and address mental health concerns.
January 25, 2022
Could You Lose Your Job if You Get COVID-19?
careers

Could You Lose Your Job if You Get COVID-19?

With omicron surging, many are losing the ability to work. Can they get fired? Will they get paid time off? It depends.
January 12, 2022
Take This Job, I'm Retiring
Financial Planning

Take This Job, I'm Retiring

The pandemic and bull market have led to an increase in the number of workers who are retiring. You might call it the Gray Resignation.
December 21, 2021
How to File Tornado Insurance Claims
insurance

How to File Tornado Insurance Claims

The five-state storms caused billions in damages. If you were affected, make sure you document your losses and contact your insurer immediately.
December 14, 2021