November 12, 2019

It’s Time to Choose a Health Plan. Prepare Yourself for the Cost.

Check whether your plan will still cover your specific prescriptions and whether your doctor and hospital will remain in your covered network — where costs are lower — for the coming year and call to verify it. “Online directories are notorious for being inaccurate,” Ms. Donovan said.

Also, if you’re married, consider whether a spouse’s health plan may be less costly, she said.

If you do choose a high-deductible plan, try to put as much money as you can into an H.S.A., Ms. Donovan said. If you don’t use it, you can keep the money and may even invest it for care in the future. And money in an H.S.A. can be used to pay for children’s care, even if they are covered by a different health insurance plan, Ms. Donovan said.

At a minimum, Mr. Rae said, it’s a good idea to contribute the money you save on premiums by switching to a high-deductible plan.

Another money-saving option to consider: Many employers will offer a premium discount, or contribute extra money to a health savings account, if workers agree to take a health assessment or screening. The idea is that identifying factors like smoking or high blood sugar can help people get treatment and avoid developing health problems that are more serious and costly to treat.

Here are some questions and answers about health coverage for 2020:

Can I save money by using “virtual” doctor visits?

Employers are increasingly offering options for workers to obtain treatment from doctors who are in a different location using technology, including live video chats and remote monitoring using mobile apps.

The cost depends on the details of your health plan. Typically, someone with a high-deductible plan will pay about $40 to $50 for a virtual doctor visit, compared with $70 when visiting a convenience clinic and about $140 for an office visit with a primary care doctor, Ms. Watts said.

How much can I contribute to a health savings account in 2020?

The maximum contribution for next year is $3,550 for individuals and $7,100 for family coverage. (People 50 and older can contribute an extra $1,000.) To qualify for an H.S.A. in 2020, a health plan must have a deductible of at least $1,400 for an individual and $2,800 for a family.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/18/your-money/health-insurance-open-enrollment.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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