(need help fast — deadline for open enrolment ends today)
I’m trying to choose between five insurance plans. The plans and information are available here. Three are PPOs, two are high deductible plans. I’ve created a spreadsheet with each detail of the plans on it to compare from one to the other, and while there are definite psychological differences (e.g., the third plan only covers generic medication), most differences only amount to a few hundred dollars at most and are a small amount compared to overall costs. The big differences are in base premiums and scenarios in which we have $5,000, $10,000, etc. in medical expenses.
Unless I’m doing something dreadfully stupid (please help me avoid that!), it looks as if the $5,000 high deductible plan is the cheapest/most sensible option. It also says it qualifies for an HSA, something we’ve no experience with.
For background, we’re a family with one newborn. We have five grand in liquid assets that can go untouched except for medical reasons. (Can I just walk into a bank and ask to set up an HSA?) We’re self-employed, earning income through an S Corp.
Are high deductible plans really all that straight forward? From the summary/full description, it seems as if once one of us has met the deductible (or both hit the family out of pocket of $11,900), we’re free to hit and hit and hit the doctors as much as we want, up to the benefits maximum. Not that we’re all that fond of going to the doctor, but though the other plans are cheaper at lower levels of expenditure, it takes just one incident to make the high deductible plan much cheaper.
What do we need to be aware of before jumping from a traditional (and comfortable) PPO to a high deductible plan?