It's good think about all of your health care costs when choosing a plan. It starts with the monthly premium you pay to your insurance company every month. Health insurance pays part of the cost of health care. There are other "out-of-pocket" costs are sometimes more than the premium itself.
Costs beyond your premium
- Deductible - The money you must pay before your health insurance plan begins to pay. You do not have to pay the deductible for check-ups or other preventive services.
- Co-pay - Your share of the costs of medical services covered by your insurance plan. This amount is set by your insurance plan. It is different for each service you receive.
- Co-insurance - This is a percentage of costs for services that you pay. It typically applies after a deductible is met.
How to estimate you yearly total costs of care
Think about which medical services you expect to use for the year ahead. Think about how much care you usually use or are likely to use. Think also about health insurance as a safety net. It provides protection in case you have a serious accident or illness. It can protect you from high, unexpected costs.
- Compare plans and prices by considering you and each family member's general medical health and expected medical use.
- Estimate your total costs - including monthly premiums and a range of out-of-pocket costs - based on your household's expected use of care.
- Your actual expenses will vary, but the estimate is useful for comparing plans' total impact on your household budget.
- Health Insurance 101 - basic definitions and essential health benefits
- Health Insurance: Why it's Important and What You Need to Know (booklet)
- Know your Health Insurance terms (video shorts)