High Deductible Plans: A Cause of Medical Debt

Low premium, high deductible health insurance plans are not unusual. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 4 out of 10 Americans have just that type of health insurance. Since you are young and relatively healthy, maybe you thought this would be a great way to save money — but are insurance plans with a high deductible really going to save you money? If something goes wrong with your health or you are in an accident, those high deductibles might just lead you into medical debt.

Why People Are Opting for High Deductible Plans Many self-employed individuals who are otherwise healthy will opt for high deductible plans in an attempt to obtain insurance at a monthly rate they can afford. However, this issue with high deductible plans does not just apply to the self-employed, because employers have begun shifting more health care costs to their employees by offering health care plans that have a relatively high deductible. Those who have some say in their health insurance sometimes choose the low premium, high deductible plans in tandem with setting up a tax-friendly health savings account, or HSA, that allows them to set aside money for those higher deductibles.

The Danger of Low Premium, High Deductible Health Insurance While investing in low premium, high deductible health insurance plans may seem like a good way to save money, it can prove to be very dangerous to both your finances and your health. Some plans have deductibles in excess of $10,000, and all it takes is one unexpected illness or serious injury and you could quickly find yourself in medical debt. Those with HSAs often do not have enough balance in their account to cover the cost of the deductible, which means they are likely left with medical debt as well. Keep in mind that being young and healthy today does not guarantee that there will not be a medical emergency tomorrow.

And that leads us to the second danger associated with high deductible insurance: the impact it can have on your health. Too many times, individuals with high deductible plans will put off seeing the doctor for seemingly minor health complaints because of the deductible. One of the goals of having a health insurance plan is to keep your overall health in a good state and address minor complaints before they become serious issues. Concerns about paying a high deductible defeat the purpose of having a good insurance policy.

No Money Left Over for Prescriptions Another complication that comes into play is the problem of seeking medical treatment but not having enough money left over to pay for your medications. For example, you may have broken an ankle that necessitated surgery. You ended up paying, say, your $4,000 deductible to cover your part of the surgery. Now you are out of the hospital, but you do not have enough money left in your budget to get the medications you need or to afford the copays for physical therapy.

And that is assuming that you can even afford to pay the deductible. Sadly, you may be one of the people who are putting off much-needed surgery and medical procedures until you can get enough money together to pay the deductible. This is very dangerous for your health.

Delaying medical treatment and skipping prescriptions out of financial necessity can be devastating, if not life-threatening, for individuals with chronic illnesses such as diabetes. The same can be said for those struggling with mental illnesses that require regular medication to control: skipping doses of medication, failing to seek help when symptoms worsen, and putting off refills for medicine can be serious. Skipping important medications often leads to even worse medical debt as problems get worse until hospitalization may be required, as is often the case for diabetic individuals who forgo their insulin.

Gambling with Your Health By opting for low premium, high deductible insurance plans, people are really gambling with their health. First, just because a person is young does not mean that they are healthy — there can be “invisible” medical issues hiding just under the surface that you are not aware of yet. Then there is the potential for an accident, an injury, or an emergency surgery for something like appendicitis, all of which can drain your bank account and whatever savings you have. For those with chronic health conditions, ranging from recurrent sinus infections to something potentially life-threatening like diabetes, those high deductibles will be a drain on your income until you reach that deductible and you will be tempted to put off much-needed care.

Conclusion High deductible health insurance plans with low premiums seem like a good way to save money, but they are a huge risk even for those who are young and have good health. All it takes is one unexpected illness or one accident and you can quickly find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt just for trying to stay alive and relatively healthy.

Consumer Medical Bill Solutions

Consumer Medical Bill Solutions specializes in helping individuals like you who are struggling under the burden of medical debt. Our experienced staff can help reduce your medical debt by aggressively negotiating on your behalf to reduce your overall medical debt. Our process is simple and straightforward. Contact us today!