Tag out-of-pocket costs

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One significant downside to a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is that you’re responsible for paying everything out-of-pocket until you reach your deductible (which typically ranges from $1,000 to $5,000 on these plans).

You’ll pay 100 percent of the cost of prescriptions, doctor visits and emergency room visits. You’ll also pay for the cost of surgeries and out-patient procedures.

If you’re considering a pregnancy, make sure there’s maternity coverage on your policy. There usually isn’t.

While a high-deductible plan can lower your overall health insurance costs while protecting you from unexpected and large medical bills, make sure you have your own plan to pay those initial out-of-pocket expenses. You’ll need a tax-deductible health savings account or your own savings plan to satisfy the deductible.

Research shows that people with high-deductible plans do cut their overall health care expenses. But they also tend to cut back on preventive health care such as childhood immunizations, cancer screenings and routine tests. This “penny wise and pound foolish” approach to medical care can be dangerous.

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A high-deductible health insurance plan can provide affordable coverage for unexpected major health and medical expenses.

Essentially a form of catastrophic insurance, these plans charge a high annual deductible – from $1,000 to $5,000 and higher – in exchange for lower monthly premiums.

You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket costs for routine doctor’s office visits or trips to the emergency room until you hit your deductible. The insurance covers everything after that.

To help pay these out of pocket costs, it’s both wise and typical to pair your high-deductible plan with an IRS-qualified health savings account. You can make tax-free deposits into this account (even if you take the standard deductions and don’t itemize), up to $3,050 annually for individuals or $6,150 for family coverage. If you’re 55 or older, you can contribute an extra $1,000 a year.

This money is yours to withdraw, tax free, at any time, to pay for medical expenses that aren’t covered by your high-deductible policy.

High-deductible insurance is considered a consumer-driven health plan, giving the patients control over how to spend and invest their money.

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