2013-12-13 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

High Deductibles Your Passport to a Healthier World
By Dr. Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH

All the buzz in the healthcare world is about open enrollment period and the choices of insurance available on the exchange.

We have come to see that the inevitable was in fact true. That is, that the health care offered on the exchange is anything BUT affordable. As predicted. It couldn’t be otherwise.

Insurers were tasked with enrolling everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions, no limits on care and inability to terminate policies unlawfully.

Note to all: Insurance companies are in the business to make money. They are not social activists or wealth re-distributors. They make money from the consumer dollars. If they can’t get it through premiums, they will get it on the back end through higher deductibles and costsharing. Thus, we have the “affordable” premiums on the metal tiered plans of the exchange. These are the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The more “valuable” the metal, the more you will pay in premiums. Most people select a plan based on monthly premiums that they can afford. Myopia on the exchanges is unforgivable. You now have the ability to compare plans to decide what is affordable and what plan contains the services and providers that you require.

The lowest tier, the Bronze plan, looks affordable premium-wise. The average individual deductible attached to this plan is $5,081/yr. A deductible is the amount that a person must pay per year BEFORE their insurance starts to pick up coverage. Cost sharing subsidies that the government offers to help pay deductibles do NOT apply to the Bronze policies.

Your passport to a healthier world begins here! The space between you and the entry point into the medical system appears gaping at first glance. The good news is that space is a bridge to health through Health Savings Accounts. According to the law, a high deductible health plan (HDHP) must have a Health Savings Account (HSA) attached. HSA’s are money market accounts that you invest TAX-FREE dollars into annually to cover the costs of the deductible. You use YOUR own money for YOUR own healthcare choices. Enter consumer-centric healthcare, personal responsibility and increased awareness of how you spend your money. Accountability and cost savings. A brave new world, as Huxley dared to posit. Adventures into uncharted territory can be daunting. That is why we have reconnaissance to ascertain strategic features of the mission.

I have authored a book to explain the territory and how to conquer it. The Power of $elfcare: A Common Sense Guide to YOUR Wellness Solution is available here: amzn.to/16G1hAB

My TEDxTal for the visual/auditory learners here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=16bZBwl636s

May The Blessings Be!

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