Understanding your health insurance costs is essential to finding the best health plan for you and your family. A health insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays a portion of your health care expenses. Depending on your health insurance plan, you may have an individual deductible, a family deductible, or a combination of both. A high-deductible health plan is often combined with a health savings account (HSA), which allows you to save tax-free money for future health care needs.
When you enroll in your health insurance plan during the enrollment period, you specify the amount of the deductible. While deductibles may make health insurance premiums more manageable, nearly half of Americans can't cover the cost of an unexpected illness or injury. Once you meet this deductible, coinsurance takes effect even if it's for a family member who didn't need medical care until then. Your health insurance will help you pay these costs, but only after you've met that deductible.
If the family combines to meet the full family deductible, the health insurance plan pays coinsurance for the entire family until you reach the maximum amount of out-of-pocket expenses. These plans have higher out-of-pocket costs and generally lower premiums, so you pay less for coverage, but more when you need medical care. Some plans may require a separate deductible for prescription drugs before insurance helps cover costs.Choosing the right deductible for your health insurance plan can be tricky. If you're young and healthy and don't anticipate big medical costs next year, a plan with a higher deductible and lower premiums may make sense.
However, if you have medical conditions that require frequent care, a plan with a lower deductible and higher premiums may be more suitable.
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