Suze Orman's 4 Tips for Choosing Health Insurance
What else is good for you, physically and financially? A smart insurance strategy. This is the season to check your coverage: At the end of the calendar year, many companies offer open enrollment for healthcare—a chance to switch providers or opt into a savings plan. Even if you don't have employer coverage, review your family's past year of medical expenses and consider your needs going forward. With healthcare costs expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2013—which will likely translate into higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays all around—it makes good sense to plan ahead.
Here are a few tips to help you find cost-effective coverage (plus some budget-saving strategies for your holiday spending, below). It's the best gift you can give or receive.
Do. Not. Go. Uncovered.
Because the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate of the healthcare reform law, starting in 2014 there will be a penalty for those without health insurance. But that doesn't mean you should spend 2013 without coverage: It's lunacy to risk being struck by illness or injury and having to pay tens of thousands of dollars for medical bills out of pocket. If you're younger than 26, your parents can add you to their plan. If you're self-employed or your employer doesn't offer coverage, shop for it at Healthcare.gov or EHealthInsurance.com.
Next: Do you need a low or high-deductible plan?