During the past decade, you've probably heard quite a bit about the "out-of-control" cost of health insurance. Like overall healthcare spending, the cost of health insurance has been rising at a far faster clip than prices elsewhere in the economy. It's estimated that these costs grow by 5 to 8 percent every year. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, some health insurers have made news by subjecting their policyholders to one-time premium increases of 10 percent or more.
In this environment, you might be worried about the potential costs of health insurance. Fortunately, it's still possible to find relatively cheap health insurance without spending several hundred dollars per month. If you're single, young and relatively healthy, you might actually be surprised at the wealth of affordable health insurance options available to you. If you're a male, your insurance options may be even more affordable: Unlike female policyholders, men don't have to worry about ongoing prenatal costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Unfortunately, most insurance companies build these costs into the premiums that their female policyholders must pay.
Then again, most of these affordable insurance policies lack certain key types of coverage. Most come with deductibles as high as $12,000 and co-insurance payments of 50 percent or more. In other words, you'll need to spend $12,000 out of your own pocket before taking advantage of your policy's coverage. Even after you've passed the $12,000 threshold, you'll still be responsible for paying 50 percent of the cost of your medical care. Needless to say, this type of arrangement doesn't offer very much financial protection.
In addition, many "bare-bones" insurance policies don't provide basic coverages like preventative-care co-pays and prescription-drug coverage. If you have one of these inexpensive policies, you may need to shoulder the full costs of such routine medical expenses. Alternatively, you may be forced to purchase generic prescription drugs or see a limited roster of doctors who may not specialize in your areas of concern.
However, these policies may serve an important function. Now that the Affordable Care Act has been passed, most Americans are required to carry health insurance. If your employer doesn't offer solid health benefits, you may need to purchase one of these policies on your own. In fact, it appears likely that health insurers will continue to increase the number and type of bare-bones policies that they offer. In the future, you might be able to find insurance for just $1,500 per year.