Does a High Deductible Health Insurance Plan Make You More Reluctant to Visit a Doctor?
Last January I sat on the couch with three large insurance documents spread out across my computer screen. Should I choose an HMO or PPO? Should I opt for a high deductible insurance plan or pay up front for everything in the form of higher premiums? I have to admit I was overwhelmed with details.
With a very complicated medical history I wanted to make certain my family and I have solid coverage. Illnesses can arise unexpectedly at any age. I was only twenty-seven when I was swiftly sidelined by rare medical complications.
One plan seemed to cover more treatments more than an other, but since we do not suffer from chronic conditions, (at least not ones that require medical supervision), it is unclear if we would ever need or use those services.
Ultimately it came down to a question of money. The high deductible plan was $760 less per month than the standard PPO and saving $760 a month seemed like a no-brainer.
Here are the numbers that helped us choose the HSA plan. For the record as a result of ObamaCare we now pay a MUCH larger premium.
|Current Monthly Premium: $1525|
|New Monthly Premium: $765|
|Monthly Savings: $760|
|Yearly Premium: $18,300|
|New Yearly Premium: $9180|
|Yearly Savings: $9120|
At the time I wondered why I hadn’t switched over to a High Deductible, HSA plan sooner. We pay less in premiums and can set aside $6,550, (the maximum contribution permitted in 2014), to our HSA.
But now that I have a high deductible insurance plan I find myself less willing to go to the doctor. A few weeks ago I found myself feeling quite ill, but my first thought was “am I sick enough to go to the doctor?” In fact, I tried a number of alternative treatments before seeking professional help.
When I paid a higher monthly premium I thought nothing of going to the doctor. I didn’t visit a doctor frequently, but if I needed to go I made an appointment and didn’t think twice about it.
Now I immediately wonder how much that appointment might cost. What tests will they want to run? How much will each of those tests cost? Of course, no one can ever tell me in advance what I might expect to pay. Instead I have to wait for the insurance claim to be processed and then pay whatever amount has been negotiated between my insurance provider and my doctor.
It’s interesting how much my mind set has changed now that I have a high deductible plan. It’s silly really. It’s not that I can’t afford to go to the doctor. I also know deep down that I am still paying less than I did with a standard PPO plan and that I am still paying a ridiculous amount of money to remain insured. Yet I still find myself hesitating before calling the doctor and in the doctor’s office I wonder if the tests they run are really necessary. (That’s another hold over from my medical past. A lot of the expensive tests they ran on me were unwarranted.)
So I wonder. Is it just me or do high deductible insurance plans make people more hesitant to visit the doctor?
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