1. Shop Around
Whether you are a first-time buyer or are preparing to switch to another insurance provider, you should explore your options & have a general understanding of the benefits & premiums available to you.
What frequently happens is someone contacts a provider directly & they buy a plan without comparing. What that provider is doing is presenting you the 3 or 4 options they have, which may not even be suited to your needs. Take the extra time and look around to see what other plans, terms & benefits are available. You can very easily find yourself with something more suitable to your needs at a better price.
A much easier way that can save you time and effort is choosing a trusted agency and asking them to present a comparison of suitable options.
2. Limit The Coverage Area
A growing trend for insurers is to offer a regional coverage area. For residents of SE Asia, it’s usually SE Asia plans excluding Singapore. In addition to the regular coverage area, there’s usually emergency coverage worldwide but limited to X number of days per trip or per policy year. For example:
Regular coverage area: Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia
Emergency coverage: Emergency hospitalization worldwide for trips of up to 90 days
By limiting your coverage area like so and removing traditionally expensive countries for treatments, you can save quite a bit on your premium. International health insurance without international prices.
3. Take A Deductible
A deductible is a fixed amount of money that you need to pay before your provider will start to cover for your medical bill. For example, a $500 annual deductible means that you’re responsible for the first $500 in medical expenses. After you’ve met your requirement, the insurance covers all other eligible costs.
By applying this deductible, you can save money on your premiums upfront. This is a good option for people who are pretty healthy who want comprehensive inpatient plans.
4. Take A Co-Payment
A co-payment is the percentage of the total medical expenses that you agree that you’re responsible for. For example, if your co-payment is 20% and your total medical bill is $1,000, you’ll pay $200 and the insurance company pays $800.
Compared to deductibles, taking a co-payment is more risky, because there’s no ceiling on your out of pocket expenses. A $20,000 bill with a 20% copay is a much larger out of pocket expense than with a $500 deductible.
5. Inpatient Only Plans
One of the easiest ways to save money on your health insurance is to have an inpatient-only plan. By removing outpatient coverage, you’ll instantly save money. Without a doubt, the outpatient benefit is the most used benefit. The fact of the matter is that you’re much more likely to need to see a doctor at a clinic, then you will need to be hospitalized.
When people have outpatient coverage, they tend to use it as much as they can, which drives up your claims & also the price.
You can see some price differences between inpatient-only & inpatient/outpatient plans
Even on inpatient-only plans, you still have some outpatient benefits, but usually only if it’s related to a hospitalization or a pre-authorized outpatient surgery.
The biggest risk you’d face is getting diagnosed with a chronic condition, which required on-going expensive outpatient treatments.
6. Local Health Insurance Plans
If international providers are out of your budget range, then you can look into local insurance providers as an option. While their coverage maybe lower compared to international plans, there are still some good options and at much lower rates.
If you are looking for the cheapest insurance plan, you might want to ask to get quotes for local providers. You can also see some price differences between local & international plans here.
These plans would be ideal for:
- People on a budget
- People who want Vietnam only coverage
- Short-term expats
Finally, after considering all of these 6 strategies, you may want to take a look our case study on our client David, to learn how we helped him save on his insurance costs with our best practices.
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