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Premiums got you down? Health insurance options might save you money

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The price you pay for insurance premiums may be higher next year.

According to John Allen, an insurance broker in Mandeville, that’s thanks to the people who aren’t buying health insurance and the hundreds of thousands who finally can.

“The people who didn't sign up are the healthy ones. So right off the bat, since there were no pre-existing health conditions, everyone who needed knee surgery or shoulder surgery or hip surgery, they all signed up and they went out and had their surgeries,” Allen said.

The insurance companies were hit with a glut of high costs, and that’s likely leading to higher premiums for you.

Now some are considering ditching health insurance altogether for the cheaper penalty option, but Health Educator Dr. Eric Griggs said that’s a gamble.

“It's like rolling the dice at the craps table. There is a chance that something can not happen to you, but it's very rare. In this day and age, given our diet and our lifestyle, eventually something's gonna happen,” Griggs said.

Even some employer-offered health insurance is seeing hikes, but Allen said a family might have some options when it comes to covering a spouse and kids.

“Your employer is required to pay 50 percent of the employee’s premium, but not necessarily the spouse or the children, and it depends on your income. If your income is low enough, Louisiana expanded Medicaid, so you can actually buy into Medicaid for your children and get a better rate for your children than you would on your job,” Allen said.

That’s if your income qualifies you for Medicaid. And while your spouse and children may still find a better option on the exchange, Allen said it’s very rare you can find a better deal outside of employer-offered coverage because of the split premium cost.

Griggs believes no matter what option you chose for coverage, while going without insurance might save you money up front, it could impact your life health-wise and financially in the long run.

“Medical debt is one of the number one debts that most families bear in the latter years of their lives. You hear about people having to mortgage their houses because a family member has had a catastrophic event and they have to pay the bills,” Griggs said. “Studies have shown that people that are uninsured have worse outcomes, they're less healthy and their families bare bigger fiscal burdens because they don't have insurance.”

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