Surviving a high-deductible health plan

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- More and more people are signing up for high-deductible health insurance plans. Some are swayed by the lower monthly premiums. But often people don't have a choice. A quarter of all employers offering insurance now only have plans with high deductibles.

If you're forced into a high-deductible plan, how can you afford the care you need?

First, use the tool on your insurance company's website to check prices of treatments and procedures. The differences between providers can be enormous.

Also consider opening a health savings account. That's an account where you put in pretax dollars, which you can use to pay your deductibles and other qualified healthcare expenses. And that is money that if you don't spend it all this year, you can use it next year, too.

And be aware that a lot of preventative health services, such as colonoscopies and vaccinations, are free and don't count toward your deductible.

If you are skipping medical care because you can't afford the out-of-pocket costs, Consumer Reports recommends talking to your doctor. Doctors can often help you find less expensive prescriptions, diagnostic tests, and other health services.
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