High-deductible healthcare plans (HDHPs) are great options for those seeking lower premiums. And, as many employers are now passing on more employee benefit costs to their employees, more individuals may find themselves with HDHPs. It’s estimated that in 2015, four of five large employers will offer HDHPs as an option, and one in three will offer HDHPs only.
While HDHPs are on the rise, so are HDHP deductibles. In 2014, the average deductible was $1,217 for a single employee with group insurance, almost twice what it was in 2006. And the increases extend to HDHPs offered through health insurance exchanges, as well as employer plans.
HDHPs are good options for many individuals and families. However, HDHP policyholders should understand that higher out-of-pocket costs mean that they must be very conscious of managing their healthcare costs.
For HDHP policyholders-especially those with extremely high deductibles-there are several ways to keep healthcare costs down without putting their health at risk. For example:
Practice preventive care: First, make full use of policy-covered preventive services even if deductibles haven’t been met. Second, improve your overall health and that of family members to avoid future health problems.
Track healthcare expenses: Keep receipts and records so you’ll know when you’re close to meeting deductibles.
Get price estimates for services you may need down the line, so you can plan ahead for possible healthcare expenses-which you may have to pay yourself if your deductible hasn’t been met.
Enroll in a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA), funded by an individual, an employer, or another individual, or in a Health Reimbursement Arrangement or Account (HRA), funded through an employer.
As always, read your policy very carefully. HDHPs can be good options, but they can also be confusing. Ask your insurance agent or your employer if you have any questions.