While government-provided health insurance is considered the most affordable, several other options exist. Health insurance in the Philippines is available through various providers. Nonetheless, there’s just no hack to obtaining the most affordable health insurance. After all, the word affordable is a subjective term—what is reasonable for me may not be so for you.
Health insurance helps the policyholder pay for medical expenses. However, this product is not free—premiums must be paid regularly. It is vital for any individual seeking health protection to know how much he can afford to spend on this product annually.
A word of caution, though: put in the hours necessary to understand what health insurance is and what makes it affordable or expensive. You must know what you must get for the premium amounts that you would be paying for.
What is the cheapest health insurance today?
There is no correct to this question because it depends on your needs. The most affordable insurance plan is the one that provides sufficient coverage for you and your family.
In most situations, it is advisable to obtain a health insurance policy if you are at high risk of contracting diseases, especially lifestyle-related conditions, and the family’s breadwinner. With these, you only have to pay modest premiums while getting the most of your policy if any of the family members gets sick or injured.
How to choose the most affordable health policy?
When it comes to the affordability of the plan, it will depend on your household income. The safe amount is about 10% of the monthly income, though experts agree with 5% of the annual gross income. This is based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With only 5% spending on premiums, you may budget more money on other healthcare needs.
In the US, the federal government determines the affordability threshold (also called premium cap) at 9.78%. If your household is spending at or below this percentage, then insurance premiums are considered affordable. Then again, this covers all insurance products. So it’s up to you to identify how much you are going to spend on health insurance.
In some instances, the cheapest may not necessarily mean the most appropriate health insurance policy for you and your family. A medical evaluation is crucial before you buy any policy to acquire the best value coverage.
What factors affect the affordability of a plan?
Some companies offer insurance products at the cheapest rate consistently. However, these policies may not provide comprehensive benefits. The higher the premium you pay, the broader the health coverage benefits.
Availability and accessibility of these benefits are important factors in evaluating how affordable health insurance is.
The number of benefits you are entitled to as a policyholder also depends on your age. For instance, seniors could have the highest health insurance costs than what young adults would have to pay. There are age-related medical conditions that must be factored in by the health plan.
Even if you are not a senior yet but have underlying conditions, the health insurance premiums would be higher as well. It is either that or the illness will not be included in the list of benefits coverage. If so, you will need a more robust plan to cover the condition or conditions.
How to choose the right insurance company?
After narrowing down the price points appropriate for the plan you need, now you need to find the right insurance company. The process can be overwhelming since there are too many insurance companies to choose from.
Do your research by looking for the top health insurance providers in your place. Next, visit the company’s website and read through the summary of health insurance products and their benefits.
You may also look for reviews. However, be reminded that reviews and testimonials are indicative and not necessarily definitive. Again, appropriateness is a subjective term as well, so the best health insurance provider for your relatives may not be suitable for you.
In minimizing reliance on reviews, you should come up with your list of must-haves. For sure, there would be deal-breakers. If you happen to find one on your shortlisted health insurance provider, move on to the next on your list. This is also the reason why you must come up with up to five names of insurance companies.
Furthermore, when comparing providers, make sure that you include these factors:
- Healthcare professional network. If you or your family has a primary physician, confirm if he or she is a part of the insurance company’s network. If the physician is omitted and you cannot afford to change carers, you can rule out the insurance company.
- Prescription drug coverage. If you are taking prescription drugs, confirm with the insurance providers first if these are included in their formulary or the list of covered drugs. If these are not in their prescription drug coverage, then move on to the next provider on your list.
- Dental coverage. Some health insurance policies also include dental coverage. If this is of utmost importance, confirm if the policies on your shortlist have this. Discard those insurance companies that do not cover such.
- Referral requirement. Some health plans require policyholders to consult with a physician in its network before seeing and seeking treatment from a specialist. If your freedom to choose the specialist you prefer is crucial, rule out those plans with referral requirements.
- Customer care. If speaking with an agent through the hotline stresses you out (perhaps due to long queues), confirm with the insurance company first the available modes of communication. It could be a website or mobile application. If any insurance company fails to meet your online self-services standards, simply discard them on your shortlist.
While it is essential to determine the affordability of health insurance, the more important thing to remember is to select a plan and get covered. Putting off or choosing not to have a plan is a gamble with the highest stakes: your health and finances. You don’t want to end up in compromises in the future.