Finding affordable health insurance

Make the most of spousal coverage

Working couples with insurance from two employers may be able to get more or pay less than one-income couples. Depending on the premiums and benefits of each available plan, the best deal may be separate coverage for each, or forgoing one spouse's coverage in favor of the other's. If you have kids, you'll need to compare your options for family coverage.

Use available tax-breaks

If you're self-employed, you may be able to deduct 100% of your insurance premium from your gross income. You can also take a tax deduction if your health expenses exceeded 10% of your income. If your employer offers a flexible spending account or health savings account, sign up. You can pay your co-payments, as well as expenses not covered by insurance with money that's not subject to income tax or Social Security taxes.

Take prudent risks

If you are generally healthy and use few medical services, you can cut premium costs substantially by buying a high-deductible plan. This is a policy with a very high deductible, but a much lower monthly premium. Assuming this much financial risk can slash your premium by 50% or more, depending on your age.

Look for a subsidy

The Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to purchase health insurance through an exchange to those making less than $95,400 a year for a family of four, or $46,680 for an individual. You won't have to pay more than 9.5% of your annual income.

Also, if your income is very low, if you're permanently disabled or if your medical expenses are extremely high, you may qualify for federal or state-subsidized insurance, such as Medicare or Medicaid. Regardless of your ability to pay, you may be qualified to receive free primary care through public health clinics. To find a site near you, check the Bureau of Primary Healthcare site.

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