When shopping for health insurance coverage there are a number of personal factors that influence health insurance premiums. Health insurance is meant to protect a person’s health by providing financial assistance for medical treatment ranging from routine check ups to more in-depth surgeries or hospital stays. Consumers buy the insurance to limit their risk of having to pay high out of pocket fees for this care, but in turn health insurance companies measure out their risk of covering a person. To help them calculate this risk, insurance companies look at historic data to create risk profiles to decide whether or not they will provide coverage and at what cost. If coverage will be provided, some factors that companies use in deciding the premium costs include physical, medical, lifestyle and personal risk factors.
Some of the physical and medical risk factors that can play a role in health insurance premiums include things like body mass, tobacco use, gender, age, pre-existing medical conditions and family history. On average people with high body mass indexes have higher premiums than those who are at normal levels. Obesity can lead to diseases like diabetes, sleep apnea and heart and joint problems. Insurance companies may take not of this and charge a person more for their health insurance because of the increased risk of these diseases and medical problems.
Gender and age also play a factor. Women usually pay higher medical premiums than men because they typically have more reason to visit the doctor regularly, tend to take more prescription medication and have a higher risk of certain chronic diseases. Younger individuals tend to have lower health insurance premiums because they tend to not need to visit the doctor as regularly, have fewer diagnosed conditions and are less likely to develop health problems.
Pre-existing medical conditions and family history can also play a role in health insurance premium costs. When an insurance company sees a pre-existing condition on a person’s risk factors they know that it can be costly to them. The insurance company may not cover the condition but because the person may be increasingly likely to have additional issues related to the condition, the insurance company may raise premium costs. People who have a family history of cancer or other hereditary illnesses will likely have increased health insurance premiums.
There are also lifestyle factors that impact health insurance premiums. What one does for a living can impact health insurance premiums. For example if you work in a factory or lab where you are exposed to hazardous chemicals or have an increased risk of injury, your health insurance will be more expensive than if you have a office job that has limited risk to your health.
Insurance companies have statistics on health trends in specific areas, meaning that where you live may impact your health insurance premiums. If their data shows that people are healthier in your area than in others, than your health insurance premiums may be lower than if you lived in an area that was seen as a high health risk.
If you are buying health insurance coverage for the first time and have previously been uninsured, then your rates will likely be higher. Lastly, research shows that people who are married live longer and are healthier people than those who are not married, which is why married couples see a drop in their health insurance premiums.
These are just some of the factors that can impact your health insurance premiums. When sitting down with your local independent health insurance agent, one should ask about these factors and how they may impact various coverage options.
The Affordable Care Act is so new that much of this is changing every day.
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