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Since my husband and I are both self-employed, we have to pay for our own health coverage. So, since saving money is very important (every bit saved goes towards paying off our mortgage early or giving to charity), and since we work hard we can't claim money the government has forcibly taken from other people who work hard, we have discovered a number of ways to save money on healthcare costs, even amid our country's expensive, cumbersome, and non-transparent healthcare system.
1. Try alternatives to health insurance.* We purchase catastrophic health expenses protection through a sharing program called Medishare. It works similar to insurance, but is not insurance: So we have in-network health providers, with whom Medishare has negotiated lower rates, and out-of-network health providers, just like typical insurance, but through Medishare members' monthly fees (ours for a family of five with a deductible of $5,000 is approximately $350) literally pay other members' health expenses. Insurance providers try to make money on top of that. I'm not against people taking risks in order to make money, but buying health insurance from a company would cost us at least twice what we pay. There are downsides: For one, Medishare doesn't offer preventative care incentives that might reduce overall costs like a no-copay annual physical; and for two we get put in this catch-22 where if we declare an expense and have health providers bill Medishare, we still have to pay the final bill out of pocket because of our high deductible and then we end up paying insurance rates, which are typically higher than cash rates. But if we pay in cash, we don't get the expense applied to our deductible, so we have to actually pay a lot more in health expenses than our deductible to go over our deductible and start to have our coverage kick in.