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Factors that Affect Your Health Insurance Rate

Most of us already know that health insurance is expensive in general, but what many of us don't fully understand is why it is so expensive. Well, there are several factors completely outside our individual control and lives that affect the cost of your policy, like the fact that the United States is the world leader in developing new treatments and drugs to combat disease and injury. This research costs money - money that is passed on from the researchers to the insurers who have to pay for that treatment for you. Another factor in the United States that affects prices for everyone is the threat of malpractice. While a lawsuit for a few million dollars awarded by a jury for malpractice in some faraway state may not seem like much to you, each such court decision sends ripples through the health insurance industry and raises prices by forcing providers to charge doctors more for malpractice coverage, who then in turn charge their patients more for their services.

But what about those factors that affect your premiums that are within your control, or are at least a direct part of your life? What are they and is there anything you can do about them? Here are a few things that insurers pay attention to when deciding how much your premium will be for coverage. Some you can change, others - completely beyond your control.

  • Your gender: Male or female? It doesn't seem fair (especially if you are female), but it's the way of the world that women are typically more expensive to maintain medically than men are. Men do not have babies, have gynecological issues, menopause, and psychologically are less inclined to go to the doctor when they are not feeling well in the first place. Men die off more quickly than women as well and statistically are much more likely to die suddenly (requiring no medical treatment). All of these factors add up to billions of dollars a year that definitely makes about half the population more expensive than the other in terms of their policies.
  • Your race: Another biological fact of life is that certain races are more prone to death, disease, and the need of a physician than others.
  • Your family medical history: If your parents or siblings come down with cancer or diabetes, you can, in addition to worrying about them, consider that your premiums may rise as well, because many diseases have been shown to have genetic components, making you predisposed to anything in your family medical history.
  • Your age: Women in their childbearing years aside, the older you get, the more expensive you are likely to be medically. Only very sick children have to take a battery of expensive prescription drugs every day for senior citizens this is fairly common.
  • Time without medical coverage: If you feel young, hale, healthy and strong and don't think you need a plan - good for you. Know, however, that spending time without coverage will cause your premiums to be higher when you do finally decide to get insured. This is because people without medical care for long periods of time have a tendency to find things "wrong" with themselves when they finally do get insured and can start seeing a doctor. In order to mitigate the risk to themselves that a person who has not had a plan for a long time will suddenly find themselves diagnosed with cancer after their first doctor's visit, many insurers will write in "waiting periods" for treatment for certain conditions. During this period of time, you can get treated for a listed issue, but you will have to pay for the treatment completely out of pocket.
  • Your job: Is it any surprise that construction workers are going to pay more for a policy than an administrative assistant working in an office? Insurance, whether it be health, auto, home or life is all about measuring risk. Riskier people, professions, histories and attitudes all contribute to raising premiums so that the provider can minimize their risk.