doctor-563428_1920 (1)We’ve talked a lot about high-deductible health insurance plans and their importance in shifting the cost-saving burden to the individual. These plans offer savings in the way of lower monthly premiums in exchange for higher out-of-pocket expenses.

According to a new report from Benefitfocus, high-deductible plans were the choice of 41{d044ab8acbff62f209a116f8142e303cb886f535b0fcf58cb82cde7cb327d3c9} of participants who were offered any kind of non-traditional plan. Millenials were especially responsive, with 44{d044ab8acbff62f209a116f8142e303cb886f535b0fcf58cb82cde7cb327d3c9} choosing this option.

And while high-deductible plans definitely offer some benefits to those who purchase them, there are a few important things you should consider before enrolling in one.

  1. Don’t miss out on the plan’s second biggest perk. Low premiums might be the biggest selling point for high-deductible plans, but there’s another benefit that’s practically just as good: the health savings account (HSA). These accounts allow you to earmark tax-exempt dollars for medical expenses and, unlike funds saved in a flexible spending account, they carry over to the next year. This is a huge benefit, yet most people set aside less than half of the maximum amount allowed. Millenials, the plans’ biggest fans, saved a mere 22{d044ab8acbff62f209a116f8142e303cb886f535b0fcf58cb82cde7cb327d3c9} on average.
  2. Shop around for the best prices. Not all medical care is created equal. Nor is it equitably priced. With so much of the money for your medical care coming out of your own pocket, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re paying a fair price for quality services. This is especially true if you fall into the category of folks who don’t even meet their deductible most years. You’re paying entirely for your own health care. Make your dollars count.
  3. Make sure you’re getting the care you need. One of the biggest downsides to high-deductible health insurance plans is that many who carry this type of coverage don’t get regular checkups, screenings, and preventative services. Most cite the fact that they don’t know what exams are necessary or what their plan covers. As a result, they miss out on things like mammograms and colonoscopies, which are generally free.

Despite the fact that many are still learning to navigate the nuances of high-deductible health plans, they definitely appear to be here to stay. Enrollment in these plans has doubled over the past five years, and–according to Towers Watson–86{d044ab8acbff62f209a116f8142e303cb886f535b0fcf58cb82cde7cb327d3c9} of employers plan to offer one in 2016.

If you choose to enroll in a high-deductible plan, make sure you do so wisely. Take advantage of your HSA. Get regular checkups. And, if you have a chronic condition or expect to need major medical care in the coming year, understand that a different plan might be more suitable for now.

For more information, check out this info on ConsumerReports or contact us today.