Tips for Managing a High Deductible Health Plan
For many, the low premiums associated with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) are a great way to manage rising healthcare costs. But, unexpected medical events happen.
If you have an HDHP, you may be wondering how to keep your out-of-pocket medical costs under control. The good news is, there are several steps you can take to help manage costs and obtain the care you need.
Shop for procedures.
When it comes to medical procedures—like x-rays or surgery—prices can vary from one facility to another. If your physician suggests a costly test or procedure, you can shop around for the best deal, even if they refer you to a specific location. Before you agree to a medical cost, contact comparable facilities in your area to receive a quote for services.
But remember, it’s typically better to stay in your health plan’s network when looking for a physician or facility.
Research prescription costs.
Prescriptions can be expensive. If you’re prescribed a costly medication, ask your doctor if there is a generic version you can try instead. Often, generic alternatives are provided at lower costs.
If a replacement is not available, take some time to contact pharmacies in your area and compare prices. Sometimes, you’ll find the same prescription available at a lower cost.
Look for prescription assistance programs.
If you can’t find a less expensive version of a prescription, you may be able to use a prescription assistance programs. For example, prescription manufacturers may offer coupons for certain medications. Contact the manufacturer or check out their website to learn more.
Additionally, there are programs available to help you save on prescription costs. A quick search can help you find discount cards with coupons you can present to your pharmacy for potential savings.
Note: These programs often require you to pay out-of-pocket and not file the expense with your major medical coverage. As a result, the cost of medication won’t count toward your deductible.
Enroll in an HSA.
Your employer may offer a Health Savings Account, or HSA. An HSA allows you to set aside money from your paycheck to pay for eligible medical expenses. The money in your account may be contributed tax-free and rolls over each year.
Learn more about HSAs:
To see if you qualify for an HSA, contact your employer.
Negotiate your payment options.
Sometimes, you simply can’t avoid costly medical procedures. For example, the costs of an unexpected surgery can add up quickly. If you’re worried about the resulting medical expenses, you may be able to negotiate payments with your doctor or clinic. Often, they are willing to provide a payment plan so you may pay your bill over a certain amount of time without penalty.
Know what is free.
Did you know that most major medical plans cover certain preventative services at no cost to you? These services include certain vaccinations and health screening tests. To learn what may be available under your specific plan, review your policy documents or contact your employer.
Taking advantage of these tips can help you manage the costs associated with your high deductible health plan. To learn more about deductible management, check out our other blogs: