High-Deductible Health Plans: The Gambler’s Policy
The high-deductible health plan has been around for some time now, but recently it’s been growing in popularity as a way for employers (if not employees) to control health care costs. The distinctions between high-deductible plans and other insurance plans are fairly straightforward:
- A high deductible. A deductible is the amount which you have to pay by yourself before any of your insurance benefits kick in. Certain costs may be covered regardless, such as routine checkups and vaccinations, but outside of these basic things you’ll need to pay out the deductible before your insurance even begins to partially pay for tests and procedures. A “high” deductible currently stands at $1,300 for a single policy and $2,600 for a family.
- A high out-of-pocket limit. This is the maximum amount you have to pay for health care, not including premiums, out-of-network costs, and “non-essential” procedures, before your health insurance will take over payments completely. For a single policy the limit is over $6,000 and twice that for a family policy.
- A health savings account. This isn’t a required feature of the HDHP, but it’s highly recommended. An HSA essentially acts like a regular IRA, but in addition to the usual benefits, such as your contributions being tax-free, any money you take out to spend on health care remains tax-free.
- Lower premiums. This is the big benefit of HDHPs, or at least it’s supposed to be – high-deductible plans are overall cheaper than other plans, but your individual mileage may vary.
With this in mind, it’s clear that (beyond employers looking to cut costs where they can) the HDHP is meant for a particular sort of person: someone who is in good health and expects to remain in good health for a long time to come. Paying lower premiums sounds like a nice bargain if you don’t see yourself paying much of the deductible each year, but someone with a serious medical issue or a preexisting condition is definitely going to suffer financially compared to if he or she chose a regular plan instead. Even the healthiest of individuals are taking a certain amount of risk, considering that accidents and diseases can strike at any time.
Another aspect of the HDHP is the fact that you’ll be paying full price for prescription medicine for a while, especially if there’s nothing wrong with you beyond something relatively straightforward like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you find yourself in this situation, then the USA Rx pharmacy discount card may be just the thing you need.
By giving us just your name and an email address, you can benefit from discounts of up to 75 percent on name brands and generics in virtually every pharmacy in America, and unlike a high-deductible health plan, our discounts don’t have any pay-in period before they start working. If you’d like more information, you can contact us at [email protected] or call our toll-free number at 888-277-3911.