When comparing health insurance policies, one of the terms you will come across is “out-of-pocket expenses.” What are these? What does this mean and how does it impact what you will pay for the insurance plan? Sometimes, out-of-pocket expenses are called cost sharing. It’s an important part of your policy, and a component that you need to fully understand before you decide on an insurer or policy. Look closer at your summary of benefits to learn what these are.
Out-of-pocket costs are those costs you are required to pay when getting healthcare above and beyond what your insurer provides. It does not include the premium you pay to the insurance provider. More specifically, these are types of expenses you pay when receiving healthcare that is not reimbursed or covered by your insurance plan. These may include the following:
- Deductibles: This is the amount of money you must pay before the insurance provider pays for your care. Deductibles are set by you and the insurance agency. The higher they are, the more you have to pay before insurance kicks in, but the lower your premium will be. Most deductibles are reset on an annual basis.
- Coinsurance: This is the amount of payment you will make after the insurance provider pays their portion. For example, if your plan covers 80 percent of your medical costs, the coinsurance is the remaining 20 percent you must pay out-of-pocket for coverage. The percentage amount differs from one plan to the next.
- Copayments: A copay is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket for a doctor’s visit. These are set based on your policy features. Most health insurance policies have a copay, which may be, for example, $50 for a doctor’s office visit, $100 for an emergency department visit and $100 for a specialist visit. These differ from one plan to the next.
When purchasing health insurance, it’s important to pay close attention to your out-of-pocket expenses since these are the fees, along with your premium charge, you will pay for healthcare. Be sure to monitor your policy to determine what other costs may exist.
Get the coverage you need to protect your health. Call I&E Insurance Services for more information.