The rising costs of healthcare are a real concern for almost all Americans. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2019 found that 66.5 percent of bankruptcies in the U.S. were due to medial issues like being unable to pay high bills or due to time lost from work. Even in less extreme situations, an unplanned injury or illness can wipe out a family’s savings, cause unwanted credit card debt, or simply blow the budget in such a way that it takes months to recover.
The American public has been told, over the years, that traditional Health Insurance is the only way to deal with the situation. But many people simply do not have access to affordable health insurance and some who do find the costs associated with those plans to be unsustainable and the benefits insufficient. Healthcare consumers have three main options that can be used alone, or together, to make healthcare costs more manageable.
Traditional Health Insurance (Medical, Dental, and Vision). These are insurance plans and insurance plans work based on risk probabilities, the amount of risk in a group drives the total premium of the insurance plan. Insurance companies have three main dials that they can turn to manage this risk and maintain profitability. First are the premiums which are the fees that the individual, employer, government, or some combination of those pay each month or year. In addition to the premium, insurance companies limit coverage by creating dedcutibles. Most plans have an individual and family deductible so if there are three members of a household on the plan, each member might have a $1,500 deductible but the family deductuctible might be $4,000. In addition to the deductible, health insurance plans have various levels of coinsurance which can be in the form of fixed or percentage co-pays. For example, a doctor visit may have a $75 co-pay while a medical procedure may be covered at 80 percent. That means that the health insurance company would only pay 80 percent of the total costs after that individual has paid the deductible, for example $1,500. Dental and vision insurance work in much the same way. Keep in mind that insurance is designed to be a safety net and is designed to cover 100 percent of medical costs.
A Health Savings Account (often called an HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) both allow consumers to set aside a limited amount of money, pre-tax, and use it for certain health related expenses. The main difference between the two is that not everyone qualifies for an HSA, only those with a high deductible health insurance plan, but everyone qualifies for an FSA. Each type has certain rules, regulations, and limits. These plans are useful for individuals who want to reduce taxes and have money set aside to pay for un-covered medical expenses, deductibles, and co-pays.
Discount Healthcare Programs are not insurance but are a great tool to use with or without traditional insurance, a HSA, or an FSA. A Discount Health Program gives paid subscribers to a set of discount plans that can provide substantial savings on health and wellness expenses. Discount Healthcare Programs contract providers of medical or ancillary services and negotiate substantial discounts for the members on medical, health, wellness, and ancillary services. Members contract directly with the provider and pay them directly for services rendered. The Advantage Health Plus program, for example, provides subscribers with discounts as high as 80 percent across 15 different benefits that include:
- Prescription Drugs
- Lab Testing
- Diabetic Supplies
- Medical Equipment
- Pet Care
- And More …
Programs like Advantage Health Plus are very affordable and, with fees of less than $30 dollars per month, easily pay for themselves.