Health insurance premiums have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Medical advances in the form of technology and new medications have brought new hope to patients, but along with that hope comes a steep price tag.

Consumers have felt this pinch and are seeking ways to reduce costs. Most people are not insurance experts and sometimes do not know the proper steps to take to find and maintain affordable coverage. Residents of Virginia can consider these options when shopping for health insurance:

• Find an independent agent that is licensed through the Virginia Department of Insurance that also resides in Virginia. This type of agent is more likely to be familiar with coverages that are competitive within various parts of the state. A resident agent is also a consumer and knows the uniqueness of various plans and state- mandated benefits. Out-of-state agents and agencies are not likely to be experts on the finer points of plans available to Virginia residents.

• Find an insurance company that is based in the state of Virginia or at least has major operations or a home office within the state. An insurance company based in the state will specialize in developing products and physician networks that work well there. These companies are also good neighbors when it comes to offering civic and charitable activities. They can offer programs to residents that promote healthy lifestyles and well-being, which makes a positive impact on the community.

• You should shop around often. Insurance companies raise rates based on claims experience for certain plans. Once you’ve had a plan for a number of years, you may be stuck in a plan that is made up of an aging population of insureds. As health problems increase, so do the rates on older plans. When companies develop new products, they can many times drastically reduce rates since the new plans have not yet experienced major claims. Insurance companies operating in Virginia must have all new insurance products and proposed rate increases on old plans approved by the Virginia Department of Insurance. this serves as a watchdog for consumers. Finding the most competitive plan should reduce costs tremendously.

• Examine closely the type of coverage that you need. while everyone may like the sound of the Cadillac plan, it comes with the Cadillac price. Plans that have co-pays for physician office visits and prescription drugs will be the most expensive. This could be a waste of money for someone that hardly ever goes to the doctor or uses any prescription medication. A catastrophic plan could save more than on monthly premiums rather than paying for features not being utilized. Simply raising the deductible on most plans will lower costs significantly without exposing yourself to enormous financial risk.

You can check plans and prices with the most competitive companies offering plans in Virginia by visiting

Source by Mark W. Brooks

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