Is a High-Deductible Insurance Plan Right for You?
Changes in How You Shop For and Purchase Health Insurance
If you’ve gotten the feeling that choosing a health insurance plan requires more research – and more decisions – than it used to, you’re not wrong. And that’s actually a good thing for consumers – it means you have more options for choosing what’s right for you and a greater ability to help control what you spend on health care. To make the choices that are most sensible for you and your family, you need to consider a number of factors when deciding what kind of health insurance best suits your needs and budget. Lately, you’ve probably heard talk of high-deductible health insurance plans – sometimes called consumer-directed or consumer-driven plans. What are these plans and what are their pros and cons?
What’s a co-pay?
What’s a deductible?
Beyond the Price Tag
Here are a few things to know about high-deductible health insurance plans:
- High-deductible plans are attractive because they generally have lower premiums, which is what you pay each month for coverage. There is a tradeoff in exchange for lower premiums: for starters, your insurance doesn’t kick in until you’ve met your annual deductible, which could be several thousand dollars. And when you do meet your deductible, you may still have a copay or coinsurance or both. Also for high-deductible health plans, that are eligible for a health savings account (HSA), you can’t cover anything prior to the deductible except preventative care.
- For people with fairly predictable health care costs, high-deductible plans can be a great way to control spending on health care. On the other hand, these costs are sometimes hard to predict.
- High-deductible plans are frequently linked with a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) to help cover out-of-pocket costs. These can offer tax-deferred savings on health care expenses.
- Just as you wouldn’t buy a car or a house without thoughtful deliberation over the options, you should take some time to research the pros and cons of a range of plans. Weigh the advantages of a lower monthly premium against the potential out-of-pocket costs in the event of a serious health issue. Ask your employer about any HSA and FSA offerings.
What’s a health savings account (HSA)?
What’s a health care flexible spending account (FSA)?
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST FOR CARE?
Historically, it hasn’t been easy for consumers to find out what their medical care actually costs. People may know what they’re paying for health insurance, but they rarely see the price tag on the health care they’re purchasing, not even after the fact. This lack of transparency can have a major impact on people with high-deductible health insurance plans whose out-of-pocket costs can be significant.
To help members get a better idea of the prices of some common medical procedures, we have launched a first-of-its-kind health care cost transparency tool. We’ve created a search just for our members. Simply log in to Blue Connect and go to HealthNAV to see costs for care based on your health plan. After all, why should buying health care be all that different from buying anything else?
If you’re not sure which health insurance plan is best for you and your family, there are different avenues for you to get the help you need.
+ If you are an employee getting insurance through your employer, the best place to get more information about your plan is through your human resources department.
+ If you are seeking or you already have a plan through the individual market, you can visit one of our Blue Cross NC centers or visit our webpage for health care coverage for individuals and families.
*HealthEquity is an independent company that is solely responsible for the financial services it is providing. HealthEquity does not offer Blue Cross or Blue Shield products or services.
[top image: Shutterstock]
About Chris Privett
Chris Privett is a communications specialist at BCBSNC, assisting the company’s leaders with speeches and presentations. Chris has a particular interest in sharing stories about BCBSNC’s role as a committed partner in North Carolina’s communities. His communications career began in 1990 in television news, later transitioning to public relations roles in nonprofits