If you're eligible for health coverage with your employer, your options are what they offer. 7 on Your Side's Michael Finney has partnered up with consumer reports to find out what to consider if they are high-deductible health plans.
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More and more people are signing up for high-deductible health insurance plans. Some are swayed by the lower monthly premiums, but often people don't have a choice. A quarter of all employers offering insurance now only have plans with high deductibles. Consumer Reports says these plans have a real downside. It has advice on how to keep your health insurance from wiping you out.
High deductible health plans can really set you back before employer insurance kicks in. Individuals have to pay an average of nearly $2,300 a year and for families more than $4,000.
"People are finding the deductibles so affordable that they're putting off care or they're not getting care at all," said Consumer Reports' Money Editor Donna Rosato. "They're not filling prescriptions. They're not going to the doctor."
Monique Dow's only insurance option carried a $6,000 deductible. She put off surgery and almost didn't discover that she had cancer.
"It was scary to me that I almost didn't do the surgery, the first surgery," said Dow. "To just know what was growing inside my body, because I knew it would be a lot of money.
If you're forced into a high deductible plan, how can you afford the care you need?
First use the tool on your insurance company's website to check prices of treatments and procedures. The differences between providers can be enormous.
"Also consider opening a health savings account," said Rosato. "That's an account where you put in pre-tax dollars, which you can use to pay your deductible and other qualified healthcare expenses. And that is money that if you don't spend it all this year, you can use it next year too."
And be aware, a lot of preventative health services such as colonoscopies and vaccinations are free and don't count toward your deductible.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
Consumer Reports investigates high deductible insurance