The Challenge of Health Care Costs

In an October 8th StarTribune article, the headline announces that the average family now pays more than $21,000 per year for health insurance. This data came from the Kaiser Family Foundation survey. While the survey focused on the employer market, premiums for the Individual & Family market are also challenging for most people.

As I read the article it brought home how important it is for people to seek help from an agent at Farmers Union Agency when looking at options for health insurance. This is the time of year when health insurance companies come out with numerous changes to consider. It can be confusing. Our agents are here to help you sort out and make recommendations based on your needs.

In most cases there are three things to consider when reviewing options in health insurance:

1. Where do I seek care for myself and family? Provider networks (How the health plan contracts with doctors and hospitals) significantly varies health plan to health plan. Perhaps this is your most important consideration, especially if you have a lot of medical care. On the other hand, you might have flexibility if you rarely see a doctor. This factor can impact price.

2. Are the drugs you take on the formulary? A formulary is a list of approved drugs by the health plan. When your drug is on the formulary your costs are lower. Taking lower cost generics generally works in your favor.

3. Plan design is very important when determining cost of your coverage. Are you comfortable with paying more out of pocket up front for smaller items to keep your premium lower, or is it important that you have more coverage up front knowing that will mean higher premiums?

Sounds like a lot to consider, right? Farmers Union agents are here to help you. We work with people who are on Medicare, Individual & Family plans and employers offering Group plans.

Provided by Sandy Shapiro, FUA Insurance
Director of Sales, Health & Life

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