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"I'm healthy, I'll just get a high deductible health plan"--there are pitfalls with this theory.

10-29-2017 by Colleen King

I hear this often, people will say they just want to go with a high deductible plan, especially since rates are getting so outrageous---we're still waiting for the 'more affordable, easier to understand' piece of Obamacare. But I digress.

We used to have higher deductible plans that would still offer office visit coverage and prescription drug coverage prior to meeting the deductible. But when you now look at a 'high' deductible medical plan, you're looking at a $6300 deductible, if not higher. You have office visit coverage at a copay, 3 per year before meeting the deductible, but that covers just the basic office visit. Lab and Xray, any other procedure, is still an additional cost. Okay, so you may still think this is the way to go, and for some it will be. I still find it astonishing that the 'standard' bronze plan design, 'blessed' by the federal government, is $6300. Without a reasonable premium to go with it.

I had a family a few years ago, pre-Obamacare, that was trying to lower their premium so they went with a plan that had a $6000 deductible. The husband chose this plan. Then I got a call one day from the wife, a family member needed surgery, and she was upset that the deductible was so high, that they were going to have to pay that. This was a situation that was totally unanticipated, like most health care issues.

May of my clients especially in their 50s and 60s are looking for higher deductible plans to cut the cost of health insurance. I totally get that. They have savings, they could absorb something like this if they needed to. I've heard from many people over the years, 'I just don't want to lose my house if something major happens.'  It makes sense. But keep in mind that IF something happens, the deductible is what you pay before the insurance company kicks in. I know this is going to seem like I'm stating the obvious, but I've had this conversation enough, I want to make sure people get this.

I encourage people to consider the silver level plans instead, but pricing can still be tough. I get it. I see this every day, and am not thrilled about it. So keep in mind if you decide to go with a 'HIGH' deductible health plan, you may need to come up with that money at some point. But let's hope not.


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