8 Ways to Get Your Health Plan to Cover More of Your Care

We don't have to tell you that the cost of health insurance has been steadily rising.

Physician Shaking Hands with Visitor
(Image credit: Thinkstock)

We don't have to tell you that the cost of health insurance has been steadily rising. The average U.S. worker with employer-provided coverage now pays $9,695 per year in premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for a family of four, according to the Milliman Medical Index. Compare that with the average bare-bones bronze-level policy sold on the state health insurance exchanges for 2014, which had a deductible of $4,343 for individual coverage.

Now that policies are legally required to cover certain services, insurers are intensifying efforts to rein in costs by shifting more of the burden to you. In addition to boosting deductibles, they are increasing cost-sharing for doctors' visits, drugs and procedures, and switching from fixed-dollar co-payments to coinsurance, which is based on the cost of care.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.