With the changing nature of healthcare reform, the economic effects of healthcare utilization and delivery must be evaluated in many different areas including employment based coverage, healthcare access and governmental programs. This has led to the advent of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP’s).
With individuals taking an increasing financial responsibility for their health care, insurance companies have offered a plan to bridge the gap between full insurance and no insurance. Now, nearly 70% of employers offer only a HDHP, leaving the employee with few options. The change for employers is simple, a chance to reduce premiums significantly.
This shift isn’t over yet, either. Starting in 2014, most employers have to offer “affordable” health insurance—meaning the premiums are no more than 9.5% of income. So what does all this mean for you as a patient? This means you will see more HDHP’s offering lower premiums and higher deductibles to meet the upcoming requirements.
The HDHP’s are characterized by lower premiums and higher deductibles—much higher. You could see deductibles as high as $5,000 or more. While this may appear daunting, ultimately, it may save you money. If you are a relatively healthy individual, you may be paying upwards of $12,000 per year in insurance premiums.
Many HDHP’s cover preventive services and programs, such as prenatal care, cancer screenings and smoking cessation programs, before meeting the deductible. There are ways to work with your HDHP and maintain your sanity. Over the next few weeks, we will explore how the HDHP fits into today’s health environment, and provide for you strategies to help navigate this new way of delivering health insurance.
Stay tuned next week as we discuss how to manage your expenses under a HDHP and in Part 3, we’ll help you with an action plan for managing costs in an HDHP. As always, let us know what concerns or questions you may have and we’ll try to address them in our articles.