High Deductible Health Insurance
High deductible health insurance plans, as with any other coverage option
, have their benefits as well as their pitfalls. However, based on a recent survey by the well-known investment firm Fidelity, the results of such a policy may be having a negative impact on the health of those that opt for this type of plan.
This kind of health insurance option comes with high deductibles as indicated by the namesake, with the primary benefit being the low premiums that come with such high deductibles. Often referred to as a catastrophic plan, coverage only kicks in once a deducible ranging from usually $1000 to $10,000 has been met.
Fidelity's survey results indicate that about half of the consumers that opted for this type of health insurance rather than a more traditional plan were more likely to avoid obtaining necessary medical care. Approximately half of the individuals choosing this option reported that they or a family member had failed to seek medical treatment for minor issues up to four times over the past year in order to avoid the associated out-of-pocket costs.
Ask any doctor about neglecting the need for treatment even when it comes to relatively minor medical issues, and you will receive instructions to always seek treatment in no uncertain terms. Little problems can add up to big, even fatal issues. The appearance of an irregular mole can turn out to be skin cancer, which may have spread by the time medical assistance is finally obtained. Ignoring consistent nausea and vomiting may result in severe ulcers that leave permanent damage. These are just two of innumerable examples, making it blatantly clear that this is one issue with high deductible health insurance that cannot be ignored.
While part of the reason that the premium is so low for high deductible health insurance, this is not the only reason. Most have a cap on lifetime coverage. While this may seem rather high, keep in mind that outpatient surgery to remove a kidney stone can easily rack up over $30,000 in medical bills. With just a couple of surgeries, you can quickly end up reaching that lifetime cap.
In addition, any doctor visits that are related to the eligible incident may or may not be covered as well. Some will only cover a few visits after the deductible has been met, while others offer no coverage whatsoever. Still other policies will only cover a doctor's visit following a period of hospitalization.
High deductible health insurance policies also often have caps on hospitalization costs that are covered. Many have a daily limit on what is covered, with some completely excluding any coverage until after a set number of days spent in the hospital. With the first day often the most expensive, this can prove disastrous. Imagine the fees of your first day: emergency room costs, diagnostic tests, surgery, and after care- none of which is covered by your insurance.
While this type of health insurance policy certainly has its merits, be sure to have a complete understanding of the coverage before entering into any agreement.
by: Casey Trillbar
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