Once told about lower monthly premiums and tax-exempt health savings accounts, many people are attracted to high deductible health insurance. Also known as catastrophic health coverage, high deductible health insurance is commonly considered as the bare minimum coverage you need to prevent going broke from major medical costs. Indeed, many people choose deductibles for these plans that match what they feel they can pay in out-of-pocket expenses in a worst-case scenario. But this doesn't mean you won't get any assistance paying for basic medical services. Tax-exempt health savings accounts can work to save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the years from tax-free interest on the account and purchases made for health services. Yet, without knowing about the potential pitfalls of these plans and your individual policy, it's hard to make high-deductible health insurance work for you.
High-Risk, High-Reward Insurance
According to HSA for America, most people can lower their premiums by 40-50% by choosing one of these high deductible plans. Yet, to achieve this level of savings for your premiums, you may need to agree to pay for the first $5,000 or so of medical expenses incurred during the calendar year. Moreover, to qualify for a tax-exempt health savings account at all, your health plan must have a minimum deductible of $1,200 (for individuals) or $2,400 (for families) and a maximum deductible of $5,950 and $11,900 for individuals and families, respectively. Thus, if you manage to make it through the year with only minimal health care costs, you're going to come out well ahead. Alternately, by the time you hit the upper limit of deductible, you would have most likely been better off with a more standard health plan.
Different Reasons for Choosing High Deductible Health Insurance
Often, the people who opt for high deductible health insurance fit one of two molds. First, there are people who make just enough money not to qualify for Medicaid or other financial assistance but don't make enough money to afford a more standard health insurance plan. These people buy high deductible plans with the intent of avoiding the doctor's office or other health care services, except in cases of emergency. Other people choose high deductible insurance because they have sufficient funds to cover incidental health care costs. Typically, these people are in good general health, and when they do need medical services, they look for cheap health care services, such as discount health clinics. These two very different groups often highlight both the pros and cons of high deductible insurance with the former group running into crippling out-of-pocket costs, while the latter group is hailed as the most responsible consumers of health care in the country.
Healthy and Unhealthy Side Effects of High Deductible Health Plans
Along the same lines, there is a very interesting debate that went largely unnoticed and unreported during Congressional health care reform negotiations. On average, does high deductible health insurance make Americans more or less healthy? On the one hand, people who are responsible for the first $1,000-$5,000 of their annual health care costs do seem more likely to take care of themselves. Yet, other research has shown these health plans lead many people to delay doctor visits until minor ailments have festered into serious afflictions. In light of skipping doctor visits, it's also worth noting that some advancements in medical treatments have made some doctor visits unnecessary. Better over-the-counter remedies for poison ivy, for example, have greatly reduced the need to go to the doctor for a prednisone script.
To read more about how high deductible health plans can lead to serious health consequences, check out this New York Times article.
Find Online Quotes for High Deductible Health Insurance
To make high deductible health insurance work for you, you still need to follow many of the other general guidelines for shopping for health insurance coverage. This includes getting as many different quotes as you can in a quick and reliable manner. This is where NetQuote can help. Fill out a simple online form and we'll connect you with the insurance companies that cover your area and best fit your insurance needs. Better yet, you'll be able to talk to health insurance agents and review policy details from the comfort of your own home.