Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The cost of health insurance is only getting more expensive, so most of us welcome anything that will drive down the cost, even if it means a lifestyle change. But some changes, as we all know, are more difficult than others.

Here are five ways to drive down your health insurance — from the most common to the slightly more unusual. A quick note on the percentages: these are rough estimates from calling three major insurers. How much you’ll save will depend on the insurer and the policy. Continue reading and looking for ways to find the best health insurance for an affordable price!

#1) Quit Smoking

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Let’s start with the most basic: stop smoking and your health insurance premiums will drop, because even one day after you stop smoking, your health improves substantially. As an example, twenty minutes after you quit smoking, your blood pressure drops, your pulse drops and more blood flows to your hands and feet. A day after quitting, your risk of heart attack drops.

Yes, as little as 24 hours away from nicotine does a lot to make you a healthier (if perhaps grouchier) person. It makes you less prone to various cancers, illnesses like COPD, and will cause fewer health complications later in life. Also, with prices running an average of $6.00 a pack or higher, you’ll have more money in your pocket even if your insurer doesn’t drop a cent … which is unlikely, because quitting is going to save them a lot of money.

Percentage saved: an average of 5% to 15%, or even higher, depending on age and pre-existing health conditions.

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#2) Lose Weight

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We know, we know, you get enough flack about your weight from pop culture and television. But you don’t have to do this for your image. Your insurer doesn’t care about how you look in a little black dress or a well-cut suit. Instead, they’re worried about the strain that extra weight is putting on your heart and your lungs. They’re thinking about the diabetes costs they might have to pay. You get the picture.

The big problem with being overweight is not the risk of heart attack or stroke, it’s the risk of diabetes. Diabetes is a disease on the rise, and it’s expensive to manage (ask any diabetic). If it progresses, it can involve surgery and other costs. To say your health insurer doesn’t want to pay those is understating the case.

Hit the gym a few times a week, and see if your health plan will reimburse gym fees. Many are happy to give you a partial or even full refund; anything that gets you moving and reduces your odds of serious health issues is worth their while. Losing weight could lower health insurance premiums!

Percentage saved: between 10% and 25%, depending on how much weight is lost and whether you keep it off. That last piece is important: a yo-yoing weight can be just as damaging to your health, or even more so, than just not losing it in the first place.

#3) Drive Responsibly

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Quick, name something you own that has a high likelihood of inflicting injury, and that you use every day.

Yep, you have an insurance problem quite possibly lurking in your driveway. We were as surprised as you, but the insurers we spoke with had a good point: driving record is part of a background check, and insurers often offer packages that can include car and home insurance, or include life and health insurance, so the information often winds up in their hands.

Similarly, car crash injuries are something the health insurance company can’t anticipate and can affect your health for years. One bad crash is all it take to mess up your body for life. So insurers like to limit the likelihood of accidents.

Essentially, anything that you have that would drive up your auto insurance will also drive up your health insurance. For example, if your primary method of getting around is a bright red cherry Dodge Charger that you race off-road on the weekends, your health insurer is going to have some qualms about that, just like your auto insurer is quietly referring you to one of their competitors. So, if you’d like to drive down your claims, trade in the muscle car for something safer, and stop getting speeding tickets.

Percentage saved: This ranges between 5 and 10%, depending on what car you drive.

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#4) Get Some Safer Hobbies

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We know this will surprise you, but passionate base-jumpers have a higher rate of injury and fatality than, say, passionate stamp collectors. And that’s reflected in their health insurance premiums.

This isn’t to say people who stay at home all day get lower premiums; health insurance companies love to see people cycling, running, and engaged in other activities that keep people healthy and active. MMA fighting, funny car racing, snowboarding off cliffs, blindfolded motocross, making homemade fireworks … not so much.

So, if you’ve been on the fence, save some money and trade in your bungee cord for, say, macrame. It might not be quite as thrilling, but it will be a lot safer.

Percentage saved: Generally between 3 and 5%. As one insurer put it: “Unless you’re doing it every day, it’s not as heavy an effect as quitting smoking or eating better. But it does help.”

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#5) Getting a Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy

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Your health insurer is not eager to discuss this one; we had to mention it to them. As an insurer put it to us (and asked to remain anonymous): “This is hugely controversial, and we get in a lot of trouble for it, a lot of angry letters. But the truth is, and parents know this, babies cost a lot of money.” Do they ever: a normal birth with no complications costs $10,000. And then, of course, the child is insured for another eighteen years.

And that’s really why you’ll save if you get this surgery. If you’re married, and guarantee to your health insurer that you won’t be putting any babies or pregnancies on their tab, they’ll lower your premiums.

Percentage saved: Women save more than men, as vasectomies can self-repair and men don’t get pregnant, but you can expect a decrease ranging from 7% to a whopping 25%, depending on your age and whether you have children already.

Now that you’ve seen how to save, find out how much you can save by using our free health insurance comparison quote form. Just enter your ZIP code in the box below, and we’ll give you the cheapest health insurance quotes, from dozens of the best providers. Happy saving!