Americans opting for higher deductible health plans may pay the price down the road

Americans opting for high deductible health plans may pay the price down the road

Health experts agree, people with higher deductibles see the doctor less due to threat of high “out of pocket” medical costs, and are more likely to end up in the emergency room due to undetected disease.

A recent survey showed the average workers have increased their deductible to over a $1000, this figure has more than tripled over the past four years. Along with individual health plans, consumers are opting for deductibles as high as $10,000 to keep premiums low.

Higher deductibles have become more and more popular with small businesses trying to cut corners any way possible. This open enrollment in November, the figures are expected to rise again due to many employers forcing the flimsy and/or high deductible options. Health officials warn this cost cutting technique only causes people to put off preventative procedures, the key to reducing the cost of medical care, and sure to cause an increase of sick workers in the future.

Statistics tell us that death from certain cancers go from 55% to 90% when go undetected. Annual physicals give doctors a chance to catch issues early like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and also give recommendations to lifestyle change. All in all, at certain ages, annual tests cost a few hundred dollars, saving consumers money compared to the thousands that will have to be dished out down the road from major illness.

One California agent claims there is a low cost solution to this problem, “Having the higher deductible saves people thousands so I can understand why many are taking this route, but people should consider supplemental health plans like accident and/or cancer insurance.”  Claims Loreen Worden, a California based Allstate agent, “These plans offer reimbursement of preventative screenings plus other benefits that will help with higher deductibles if ever sick.”

Meanwhile, many are hoping that the new health care reform act will help with preventative screening costs. Effective this past September, insurers are now forced to pay for things like colonoscopies and mammograms, but other parts of this reform are yet to be seen until 2014.

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