<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1035411413176864&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Insurance For Texans Blog

All the Insurance Topics a Texan Could Want

    What Is A Health Insurance Deductible & Why Do Texans Obsess Over It?

    Posted by Kevin Hall on Jul 20, 2023 4:15:30 PM

    With the second half of the year beginning, we are careening towards open enrollment for health insurance plans at what feels like warp speed. After having loads of conversations with Texans from all parts of the state about their health insurance, we have noticed something that we find a bit peculiar. The second question out of everyone's mouth is simply "what is my deductible"? Inquiring about their deductible isn't peculiar. But it seems like Texans are fixated on this value after they know the monthly cost of course. Why is that?

    What Is A Health Insurance Deductible & Why Do Texans Obsess Over It?

    Health Insurance Deductible Defined

    A deductible on your health insurance plan is the money that a Texan must pay as out of pocket cost for healthcare expenses before their insurance plan begins covering health care expenses. It is an essential feature of health insurance plans, designed to ensure that individuals take some financial responsibility for their healthcare expenses that is separate from any defined copays on the policy.

    Here's how it works: Let's say you have a health insurance plan with a deductible of $1,000. If you incur medical expenses, you will need to pay the full amount for covered services until you reach this $1,000 threshold. Once you meet the deductible, your insurance plan will begin to cover a portion or all of the costs, depending on your specific plan. Pretty simple, right?

    The purpose of a deductible is to help control healthcare costs by encouraging insured individuals to be mindful of their medical expenses. It incentivizes individuals to only seek necessary medical services and avoid unnecessary visits or treatments. Additionally, having a deductible helps to keep monthly premiums lower since the health insurance company is sharing the cost of healthcare with the policyholder.

    It's important to note that not all medical services require meeting the deductible. Preventive services, such as vaccinations or annual check-ups, are often covered without the need to pay the deductible or copay under plans approved by the Affordable Care Act. However, services like hospital stays, surgeries, or specialized treatments are typically subject to the deductible.

    All that seems pretty straightforward, but it's not the entire story.

    Click To Get Help With Health Insurance

    Health Insurance Deductibles & Their Effect On Insurance Plans

    When it comes to health insurance, understanding the concept of deductibles is pretty important. We will definitely give you that. A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket for covered medical services before your insurance plan starts to contribute. In Texas, where many individuals are evaluating their health insurance options, it's important to be aware of the different types of health plans how the deductible work either for or against you. By this, Texans can make informed decisions about their healthcare plans and ensure they have the coverage they need at an affordable cost.

    Traditional Health Plans

    Traditional health plans, also known as standard or comprehensive health plans, are the most common type of health insurance coverage whether it is an employer based group plan or an individual plan purchased either on or off the ACA Exchange. These plans can have the lowest deductibles but higher monthly premiums compared to high-deductible health plans.

    One of the main advantages of traditional health plans is that they provide coverage for a wide range of medical services and expenses. Deductibles are the amount of money that policyholders must pay out of pocket for covered healthcare services before the insurance company starts paying. With traditional health plans, deductibles are typically lower, meaning that policyholders have to pay less before their coverage kicks in. These plans generally also have copays for things like office visits for primary care visits rather than paying full price.

    This can be beneficial for individuals or families with frequent healthcare needs, as they may need to access medical services on a regular basis. With lower deductibles, they can start receiving coverage for their medical expenses sooner. This can help to reduce the financial burden on individuals and families who require ongoing medical treatment or have chronic health conditions.

    However, the higher monthly premiums associated with traditional health plans can be a disadvantage for some individuals. These plans may require policyholders to pay more each month for their coverage, regardless of whether they actually need to use medical services or not.


    Subscribe Here For Regular Updates

    High-Deductible Health Plans

    As the name implies, High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are a type of health insurance coverage that comes with higher deductibles than traditional plans. With HDHPs, policyholders must pay a larger amount out of pocket for covered healthcare services before their insurance company starts covering the costs. However, these plans come with a very specific advantage if you have the means to take advantage of it. So how do these plans stack up?

    One main advantage of HDHPs is that they typically have lower monthly premiums compared to traditional plans since more of the health care costs are being covered by you. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals or families who are relatively healthy and do not require frequent medical services. By opting for an HDHP, policyholders can save money on their monthly premiums.

    Additionally, HDHPs offer the opportunity to open a tax-advantaged health savings account (HSA). An HSA allows policyholders to set aside pre-tax money to pay for qualified medical expenses. This provides a way to save for healthcare costs and reduce taxable income at the same time. And unlike your traditional flexible spending account, the money in the savings account will rollover at the end of the year even if you do not need to access it for medical costs.

    It's important to note that HDHPs typically come with higher deductible amounts. Although with the elevation of individual deductibles on traditional health plans, the deductible gap between the two has shrunk dramatically. A larger annual deductible, or family deductible, means that policyholders will have to pay these amounts out of pocket before their insurance coverage begins. But the benefit of these plans is that the out of pocket maximum is typically lower than a traditional health plan.

    While HDHPs can offer lower premiums and tax advantages, there are potential drawbacks to consider. The higher deductibles mean that individuals or families may have higher out-of-pocket expenses before their insurance coverage kicks in. While this can be a significant financial burden for those who anticipate frequent medical services or have chronic conditions, the lower out of pocket maximum can offset that upfront cost.

    These plans offer the advantage of potential cost savings and the option to open a tax-advantaged HSA which can supercharge your savings. However, they may not be suitable for individuals or families with ongoing healthcare needs or chronic conditions due to the higher out-of-pocket expenses for health care services.

    Is It Better To Have A High Or Low Deductible?

    When it comes to choosing a health insurance plan, one important decision to make is whether to opt for a high or low deductible. But it is not the most important decision. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right choice depends on the individual's health condition, frequency of medical treatment, and expected healthcare expenses.

    We recommend looking at three very important variables when evaluating which health insurance plan to choose.

    1. Are vital providers or locations inside the network of the plan?
    2. Do you have unique needs for a specific non-generic prescription or ongoing use of health care services.
    3. Do you have the free cash flow to pay for a doctor visit that is considered a covered health care service?

    The reason for these three criteria is because it will help steer you to a plan selection. If your favorite doctors or facilities are not in-network, having your family coverage with a specific plan might not seem so beneficial no matter the deductible. Also, if your prescription needs are expense heavy for your health insurance policy needs to cover the drug in question.

    Once those two issues are settled, the choice of a high-deductible plan versus a traditional health plan becomes a bit subjective. While a high deductible health insurance plan typically comes with the lower monthly premiums, you will be paying cash for healthcare costs prior to the annual deductible being met. If cash flow is an issue, the copay for an office visit on a traditional plan may make more sense for your family coverage. The same can be true if you require frequent medical services or have chronic conditions.

    On the other hand, with a low deductible, policyholders will have lower out-of-pocket expenses before their insurance coverage kicks in. But with the higher monthly premiums and the inability to contribute to a health savings account, you may wonder if it's worth it with the average family deductible skyrocketing up to $15,000 or more.


    Click To Get Help With Health Insurance


    Is My Deductible My Max Cost For Healthcare For The Year?

    No, your deductible is not necessarily the maximum cost for healthcare in a year. While a deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket before your insurance starts covering expenses, the maximum cost for healthcare in a year, also known as the maximum out-of-pocket expenses, includes other costs beyond the deductible.

    Once you meet your deductible, your insurance company may start covering a portion of the costs through coinsurance. However, you will still be responsible for paying that percentage, as well as any copayments associated with the services you receive.

    It is important to note that the maximum out-of-pocket expenses generally do not include expenses for services that are not covered by your health insurance plan. These may include elective procedures, cosmetic treatments, or alternative therapies.

    With all of that in mind, we have one final factor to consider. There is an aspect of current health plans that many Texans never consider, whether they are on a plan from their employer or the health insurance marketplace. That is the Maximum Out of Pocket. Since this is the amount of money that you are on the hook for beyond the deductible for covered health care services, it is important to understand it. It is your total amount of risk if a major health event occurs in your family or if your prescription drugs will be substantial every year due to a chronic medical condition.

    With High-Deductible plans, the max out of pocket value is typically lower than it is for a traditional health plan. So even though the average deductible may be higher compared to the traditional health plan, the total amount of money at risk will likely be lower. This line item for your out of pocket maximum for medical costs in a major event can make all the difference in the world.

    Why Do Texans Obsess Over It?

    When it comes to evaluating health insurance options, Texans, like many others, often find themselves obsessing over the health insurance deductible. The deductible is an essential aspect of any health insurance plan and plays a significant role in determining out-of-pocket costs. Texans, definitely need to understand the importance of the deductible as it directly affects their financial well-being and ability to access healthcare services. But with the wide range of health plans available in Texas, understanding the deductible and its impact on monthly premiums and overall healthcare costs can be less important than we perceive for making informed decisions about health insurance coverage. Your prescriptions, network options, and max out of pocket can have a much bigger impact on your health care expenses. There is an old saying in baseball that you have to keep your eye on the ball. That seems exceptionally important here.

    How Can I Get Help Making Sense Of My Deductible?

    When it comes to evaluating your health insurance and securing medical care, understanding your deductible is important but not necessarily the most important factor. As a Texan, finding the right health insurance plan can be overwhelming. However, you don't have to navigate this process alone. Seeking guidance from an independent insurance agent can help you make sense of your deductible along with the other important factors.

    An independent insurance agent is knowledgeable about different health plans and can provide valuable insights into deductibles, premiums, and copay/coinsurance amounts. They can help you compare these costs across different plans and find one that aligns with your needs and budget.

    Independent insurance agents, like Insurance for Texans, have the expertise to explain complex insurance terms and help you fully comprehend the implications of your deductible, health insurance premium, and the total cost of risk for your entire family. We can assist you in selecting a plan that balances your monthly premiums with potential out-of-pocket costs for health care coverage.

    By working with an independent insurance agent, you can gain peace of mind knowing that you have made an informed decision regarding your health care plan. We are dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of health insurance and ensure that you have the coverage you need.

    Click the button below to begin your journey to understanding your health insurance costs and benefits.

    Click To Get Help With Health Insurance


    Topics: deductible, health insurance, ACA, ACA Alternatives