Lots of analysis of the current American health care environment is based on the emergence of high deductible health care plans that work quite a bit differently from what enrolled members in conventional plans are used to. A high deductible health care insurance plan is like any other kind of high deductible insurance – it offsets some of the premium cost with a gamble that the holder will not have to pay out the maximum deductible over the course of the plan year. You should consider these plan types and decide whether they are a good deal for your household.
What Are Your Average Health Care Costs?
One big issue in choosing a deductible for a health insurance plan involves knowing what you’re likely to pay within a year’s time. Families that generally have next to no healthcare costs in a year may benefit from a high deductible plan, while other kinds of families that need a couple of dozen office visits each year will probably end up paying the entire deductible or more, according to the fine print of the insurance plan. If the visits are primarily preventive medicine, then seek a high deductible plan with this benefit.
Do You Have the Money On Hand?
Another big issue with high deductible plans is whether members with these plans could pay the entire deductible if they have a major health problem. Nobody plans to break a bone or contract a disease, but that’s essentially what health insurance was made for. For a household that has the entire deductible amount on hand, a higher deductible plan can work out well and save money. However, families that gamble on their health and end up having to pay the deductible might pay a lot more for a high interest loan if that higher amount comes due.
Tax Savings and Secondary Payers
It's quite popular to link a high deductible account to a health savings account (HSA). This acts as a savings account for pre-tax dollars that can be used for qualified medical expenses. You can also ask insurers offering high deductible accounts whether they will pay secondary to an additional policy. Sometimes, layering a low maximum policy with a high deductible plan can effectively cover all of your health insurance needs.
Contractual Discounts: Know Your Policy
Another essential issue on high deductible plans is knowing how to save money on medical bills. Basically, providers may choose to offer discount fees to insurers under contracts with high deductible plans. Or, sometimes, a high deductible plan will offer reduced rates so that an insurer has a lower chance of having to pitch in when the deductible is reached. However, for other plans with extremely high deductibles, the provider may not offer a discount at all. Always ask insurers and providers about discounts or lower rates for services not covered under your policy due to an unmet deductible or non-covered under your plan.
A great starting resource to compare plans is www.healthcare.gov. You will also gain a wealth of information about the healthcare law and how it will affect you.
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