Health

The basics

High-deductible health plans were conceived to encourage consumers to shop around for health care. The logic is that if you’re responsible for medical costs upfront, you’ll do a little more work to find lower-cost providers — cutting expenses for you and your insurer. That hasn’t panned out for most people. While consumers with HDHPs do tend to reduce costs, they do so by skipping out on care, including free preventive care, according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The law requires that insurance plans cover preventive care. The specific services covered were chosen by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent team of 16 scientists and medical experts. Based on its recommendations, insurers must cover six basic preventive services for all adults, regardless of age, sex, plan cost or risk level. They are:

If your policy is canceled or you know a cancellation is inevitable, you should immediately begin looking for other coverage options or budgeting to pay out of pocket. Nonpayment of premiums disqualifies you from special enrollment periods to purchase more insurance on the federal marketplace, so you won’t be able to get a cheaper plan until the next open enrollment period begins Nov. 1.

First of all, check your health insurance coverage and network. If you have health insurance, the cost of any procedure will depend on your health plan’s cost sharing structure. Your plan might require you to pay the full price, the amount of your deductible, a flat copay, or coinsurance, which is a percentage of the procedure’s cost.