Tuesday May 23rd, 2017
As the costs of health care and coverage continue to increase across the U.S., many employers are starting to offer high-deductible health plans (HDHP) These usually come with lower premiums, making them appealing to employees and their dependents. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, more than 75 million Americans are enrolled in HDHPs. With an HDHP, you pay for all covered procedures, medications, and other health care expenses until you reach the annual deductible. The insurance will begin paying for covered services after you have met the annual deductible.
If you’re on one of these plans for the first time, here are some simple tips to help you take advantage of the benefits.
Under the Affordable Care Act, all HDHPs must over 100% coverage for preventive annual screening, cancer screenings (including mammograms), and vaccinations. As long as the ACA is still in effect, HDHP participants should take advantage of these benefits. Knowing that these benefits are covered is the first step to keeping up with preventive care, so check with your insurance plan and stay current with screenings.
One of the greatest benefits of enrolling in an HDHP is the option to open a health savings account (HSA). Of the 75 million people enrolled, fewer than half of them are enrolled in an HSA. But this type of account can make it much easier to manage out-of-pocket health care costs. Participants can set aside funds, pre-tax, to spend on qualified health expenses. Any unused funds roll over to the next year, allowing you to build up an account to cover any unexpected (or planned) health care costs. With an HDHP and an HSA, you can track spending and keep tabs on your out-of-pocket costs.
Infinisource Benefit Services offers administration services for HSAs, making it easier than ever to offer this beneficial option to your employees. You can also look into additional services, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and more.
When you’re paying for all of your health care expenses out of pocket, it’s smart to compare prices and shop around. An MRI at an outpatient imaging facility could cost quite a bit less than the same procedure at a hospital. You can also compare prices on medications and ask your doctor to prescribe generic equivalents, if possible. Pharmacy prices also vary for the same drugs, so use online price comparison tools to find the lowest cost in your area.
Participants on HDHPs might feel tempted to skip their doctor visits, stop taking prescribed medications, or ignore their symptoms so that they don’t have to pay for treatment. But these behaviors can make existing conditions worse, causing you to have to visit the emergency room or even be hospitalized. The cost of an inpatient stay or ER visit will be much higher than a visit to your primary care physician or even an urgent care facility, so pay attention to your symptoms and seek care when needed.
With the right education and an understanding of the new plan, you can take advantage of the lower premiums that come with an HDHP. This type of plan can also help you take control of health care spending. At Infinisource Benefit Services, we’re here to help with HSA administration and other services that simplify benefits offerings for employers.