If you’re one of the nearly 30 percent of working Americans insured by their employer on a high-deductible plan, remember that they have a few different components than other plan types.
Generally, you’ll have a higher deductible (that’s the amount you pay before your insurance starts sharing the cost) than a Preferred Payer Organization plan (PPO), but lower monthly premiums (the amount you pay to carry health insurance).
Once you meet your deductible, you generally move into a coinsurance phase and pay a lower percentage of the costs. Once you hit your out-of-pocket maximum, you pay nothing for the rest of your plan year.
Don’t forget that preventive care is free. This includes vaccines, annual wellness exams, and many tests. Preventive care is an additional benefit available to all people under the Affordable Care Act, yet many still don’t know what’s covered.
Take a look at what’s recommended for your age group here, then check your health plan for a refresher on what’s covered.
Health savings accounts (HSAs)
One benefit of a high-deductible health plan is the health savings account that accompanies it. These are personal accounts that you own fully, and the funds roll over each year.
Although the federal government sets a contribution limit each year (in 2017 it was $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family), HSA contributions are tax-free and in many cases can be used to invest or save for retirement.
Click here for some tips on how to maximize your HSA dollars.
3 ways to make the most of your plan
- Determine how much tax-free money to place in your HSA. Check last year’s spending as well as the number of dependents on your plan to get a sense of how much you may want to set aside for eligible health expenses.
- Track your deductible regularly and double-check your claims for errors. An estimated 40% of claims contain errors—so it pays to give them a once-over.
- Use your preventive care each year. You have wellness visits and other preventive health services available to you for free. So be sure to use them!
Also, check costs for healthcare services before you make an appointment. For example, many people don’t know that they can order blood work and other types of lab or imaging tests at facilities other than their doctor’s office. In many cases, you’ll find lower-cost alternatives that may be well worth the trip to another facility.
We’re here to help
We make it easier to manage your high-deductible health plan. Not only will you see what’s covered and learn how to take advantage of free or low-cost benefits, you can track your HSA balance and compare costs before seeing a doctor or specialist.