In the US, the world of healthcare coverage can confuse even the smartest or savviest individual. Until we have a single-payer option or universal healthcare, every citizen must do what they can to get coverage to pay for doctor visits, hospital stays, ambulance rides in emergencies, prescription drug coverage, and so forth. It doesn’t seem like government-funded universal healthcare is going to happen anytime soon, though.
Because of that, most individuals must either get healthcare through their work, or else they have to pay for it through the marketplace. If you’re looking at the different healthcare plans available to you, you might see that some are high deductible plans, while others come with low deductibles. We’ll explain the difference between the two right now, and we’ll also talk about some of the benefits and drawbacks of each one.
Do You Really Need Health Insurance?
Even if you have healthcare, and you go see a doctor or spend some time in a hospital, there are certain inherent risks that go along with that. Medical malpractice can occur sometimes, and if it ever does, you might end up in worse physical condition than before you sought treatment.
Still, getting to see a doctor is your best chance if you’re sick or injured, and you need healthcare before some doctors or hospitals will even see you. When you show up at the emergency room, the first thing they’ll ask is what’s wrong with you, but the second question will be what insurance you have.
If you don’t have insurance, then your best chance at medical care is to go to a free clinic. Such facilities often face overcrowding, though, since they have to serve large groups of underprivileged individuals. The simple truth is that there’s nothing you can have that’s more vital than healthcare since, at some point, it’s almost certain that you’ll have to deal with a medical issue.
Your Best Options for Getting Healthcare
As we mentioned before, you might be able to get health insurance when you get a job. In fact, for many people, getting a job because of the health insurance that potentially comes with it is every bit as vital as the salary you’ll earn.
The other way you can get healthcare is through the marketplace. You might do that if you’re a freelancer or you’re self-employed.
State governments help individuals who don’t make very much money. They will partially subsidize your health care purchase. Some states are better about doing that than others, though, and trying to navigate the system is often time-consuming and tricky, if not downright frustrating.
Regardless of whether you purchase healthcare on your own or get it through your job, you will probably see different pricing tiers. They will have different names or levels depending on the company from which you’re buying it. The levels might be bronze, silver, and gold, or some similar system.
The Fundamental Difference Between High and Low Deductible Plans
If you get a low-tier plan, such as the bronze package, that’s probably going to be a high deductible plan. That means you’ll pay a lower price every month. The company calls the monthly fee a premium.
If you get a better plan, you’ll pay a higher premium every month. Better plans are low-deductible plans.
If you get a low deductible plan, then you have to pay more every month, but a doctor’s office or hospital will not charge you as much for the various services you might require. If you get a high deductible plan, then you pay less every month, but you’ll pay more out of pocket if you contract an illness and need emergency treatment.
Which One is Better?
All insurance is gambling, and health insurance is no exception to that. You can’t really say that either a high or low deductible plan is the better option. Getting either one represents a dice roll.
Generally, if you’re younger and healthier, it makes more sense to get a high deductible plan. You’re betting on not getting sick or hurting yourself, so it’s not as likely that you’ll end up in the hospital or require urgent care.
If you’re older and know that you have various medical problems, you should probably pay for the low deductible plan. You’ll have to pay more every month, but when you inevitably have to see more doctors and spend more time in hospitals, you’ll pay less at that time for their services.