Cheap Medical Insurance: Price vs. Protection

Cheap medical insurance isn’t always the best option. A lower premium can often translate into higher costs later on. Here’s what you need to know about cheap insurance rates.

Premiums

If you are looking to save money each month, you may be tempted to find a health insurance plan with low premiums. While this will save you money monthly, you need to look at the overall cost of the plan. Higher co-pays and deductibles can be expected with lower priced monthly premiums. Even just visiting the doctor one time a month could end up costing you more than if you had chosen a higher premium with lower co-pays.

Deductibles


A high deductible will equal lower monthly costs on your premiums. The problem with this is you have to pay everything up to your deductible out of pocket. If you choose a plan with a low rate and a $1000 deductible, you may never see your insurance actually kick in and start covering if you only go to the doctor for routine care once or twice a year. In this case, you’re throwing money away.

What’s Covered

Often times cheap health insurance is cheap because it skimps on protection that you may need. It’s not uncommon to find an insurance plan that won’t cover prescription drugs. If you are on low cost medication this may not be a problem for you. Drug companies continue to conduct expensive research and pass that on to the consumer. This can mean some of your medications can cost you hundreds of dollars a month without prescription drug coverage.

Emergency services are another area that many people don’t look at when it comes to cheap insurance. An emergency is when you need your insurance the most. Emergency services are always more expensive than routine care. If your health insurance plan has a lot of limitations on what is covered, or has a higher deductible for emergency services, you can find yourself in a bind with all those medical bills that your cheap insurance plan didn’t cover.

A cheap insurance plan may also not offer coverage on things like x-rays and lab work. These can be costly tests, and many conditions require them for diagnostic purposes. If you pay for a cheap plan and end up having to pay out of pocket for these things you will end up paying a lot more in the long run.

Is It Worth It?

Let’s take a look at a basic example. You have purchased cheap health insurance for $70 a month. With that plan your office visits are $35, there is no prescription drug coverage, and even emergency services will require a pre-authorization. One office visit will cost you half of what you pay for your premiums to begin with. If that office visit determines you need to be put on a medication, you’d better hope it’s available in a generic and very cheap or you could face spending a few hundred dollars more. And if you are ever treated in the emergency room for an illness that felt urgent to you, the insurance company can turn around and say it wasn’t an emergency situation and bill you for the entire amount.

So this $70 a month cheap plan just potentially cost you several hundred dollars if not more.

Cheap health insurance may be a good option for someone who is young and in good overall health. If you see the doctor several times a year, or have other medical conditions that are being treated then you shouldn’t skimp on your insurance coverage.

blog comments powered by Disqus