Many Americans under the age of 30 find themselves selecting affordable healthcare options on their own for the very first time. And while the allure of saving money with a high-deductible health plan may be preferable, there are certain trade offs when selecting this type of plan.
Having a high deductible on your health plan is really no different than having a high deductible on your car insurance policy. The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums. However, if you wreck your car - or in this case get sick or injured and use your health benefits - you'll need to come up with some cash until your deductible is met.
To see if a high deductible health plan is for you, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Do you work in an occupation where you often get sick?
For example, do you work in the healthcare field? Are you an educator or daycare provider that is exposed to germs on a daily basis? Do you work in a high-stress occupation? If your work can have an impact as to how often you may need to visit the doctor or pharmacy, then you might consider a health care plan with a lower deductible. That way, you're not having to pay out-of-pocket every time you need care.
2. Are you a do-it-yourselfer?
There are some of us who feel the need to visit the doctor more often for common ailments (such as a flu bug, cold, migraine, and minor stomach upset), while others feel more comfortable treating themselves and avoiding the doctor whenever possible. Whichever category you land in, that's okay. Everyone has their own comfort level. The point is, if you're a do-it-yourselfer and rarely seek out regular medical treatments, then a high-deductible plan may work best for you by saving you more money in the long run.
3. Is your lifestyle riskier than most?
What are your hobbies and outdoor activities like? For example, do you ski, snowboard, mountain climb, scuba dive, or pilot a plane? Whatever you do, if the chances are higher than normal that you'll injure yourself, you may be looking at hospital, doctor, and physical therapy bills that could end-up being a big financial burden. In this case, it might be better to opt for a lower deductible.