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How to Manage High Health Insurance Deductibles

Medicare.Each fall during Open Enrollment for health insurance, Californians compare healthcare plans and you might find yourself struggling to pay your share of medical bills each year.

Deductibles can reach 6,000 dollars for lower-tier plans, and many people just cannot afford to spend that much on healthcare before their insurance kicks in. If you’ve found yourself challenged by your deductible this year, the following options might give you some ideas on how to manage the problem.

Open a health savings account (HSA). Many people are eligible to open and later use this money for qualified health expenses such as your deductible. Call your human resources department at work to inquire about a health savings account, or check with us. We can help you find out if you’re eligible for this special tax-advantaged account.

Try a community health center. If your community has one of these centers, you might be able to access medical care on a sliding scale based on your income. Some centers will even accept whatever your health insurance will pay, with no additional payment from you.

Negotiate with your physician. Ask to speak with your doctor’s billing department, and see if they will establish a payment plan for your part of the bill.

Talk to your doctor. Share your concerns with your physician. There might be a treatment option or prescription that is just as effective, but more affordable than your current regimen.

Ask your employer for help. Many larger companies offer assistance programs to help employees bridge their deductible gap, but these programs aren’t usually advertised at work. Call your human resources department to ask if such assistance is available.

Borrow the money. Using a high-interest credit card should be your last resort. If you’ve incurred a large medical bill, check on getting a personal loan from a credit union, or even a home equity line of credit. Keep in mind that this is a better option for a one-time costly event. You don’t want to keep rolling over debt from one year to the next.

Consider a different insurance plan. If your health insurance deductible was the bane of your financial existence in 2016, maybe a higher-tier plan would be a better fit for you. You can lower your deductible in exchange for higher monthly premiums. Assuming you can afford the premiums (keep in mind assistance is available through subsidies), a Gold or Premium plan really might be the better option for you.

Remember, Strachota Insurance is a Covered California storefront.  We can assist you not only with your Covered California needs, but also with Medicare, Group Plans, and Individual Plans!

Give us a call before Open Enrollment season begins, and we can help you weigh your options.