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PT and the Greater Good

High-Deductible Health Plans

Published September 9, 2014 5:27 PM by Dean Metz

Even though I'm living in England and enjoy the national health insurance, I still follow what is going on in the USA insurance market. I read a disturbing article in the New York Times this week about people choosing high-deductible insurance plans.

It got me thinking about the dangers of these types of policies. Most importantly would people put off getting care for conditions when they were relatively easy to treat because of costs? The old saying that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" comes to mind.

I did a little research on the topic. It seems that high-deductible plans are actually a good call for certain people. Those making enough money to afford care for relatively minor issues benefit. Also, those whose employers contribute into health savings accounts (HSA) really can benefit! An employer can contribute up to $6550 annually for a family plan, which can then roll over year after year. The maximum a family can put in annually is currently $2500. That can add up to a tidy sum. This is especially helpful as it can function almost like an IRA and be accessed tax-free after age 65.

But what about the people who are struggling just to pay the lower premiums? Will they not seek treatment, like the woman in the article above? Will they wind up driving the cost of healthcare up when they're admitted to hospitals in crisis situations for something that could have been treated in their PCP's office weeks earlier? Are these policies in effect the same as having no coverage at all?

The current annual limit on what insurers can demand from individuals for deductibles and co-payments is $6350. The amount for families is $12,500. A high-deductible plan might be right for you... if you have that extra lying around or in an HSA.

"Interesting," you may be saying," but what has this got to do with PT?" Well if you run your own practice, is it good enough that people would pay out of pocket for your services? Given the current trend in insurance, it better be or you could find yourself out of business.

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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