The answers to frequently asked questions about health insurance rate increases

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Health InsuranceMany consumers are facing increases to the insurance premiums that they pay for health coverage every month, and as a result of this, several questions are arising.

In response, the industry is working to make information more readily available to help to answer these questions. Some of the more common question include the following:

• Does the health care reform overhaul prevent health insurance companies from making their typical annual rate increases?

The answer is “no”. However, the health care reforms do force insurance companies to take certain steps to reduce the cost of coverage, and they cause insurers to put their proposed rate hikes up for public review before they will be allowed, it does not ban them altogether when they can be properly justified.

• Is there anything that can be done to stop premiums from increasing for a certain length of time?

There are some occasions when this is possible, as some carriers offer the opportunity to policyholders to lock their rates for a set length of time when they make their policy purchase for themselves or their families. It’s important to look at the cost of this service, while some may do it automatically for the first year and others may tack on an additional fee for the service.

• Does my rate go up as I get older?

Yes, some insurance companies have age groups so your rate might stay the same because of staying within the age group but once you’ve exceeded this time and gone into the next group you will see a sizable rate increase. Other companies do not have groups but have smaller rate increases annually for ever year you get older.

Because rates go up due to more than just rate increases, many do not realize that age has something to do with it as well. It is advised to review your plan once a year with your agent. You might want to consider raising your deductible but staying with the same plan to help lower the premium. Many are seeking out cancer insurance supplemental health policies as a way to combat having a higher deductible. The annual premiums on these types of policies are approximately $125 to $350 a year for an individual cancer policy, while the savings from having a higher deducible on your health insurance can be within the thousands. Each individual is different so check with your agent for more information.

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