What's the cheapest insurance I can get through the Marketplace? continued...
Often, though, when a plan has a low premium, the deductible is higher. That's true for catastrophic plans. A deductible is the amount you have to pay for medical bills before your insurance plan starts to pay.
A catastrophic plan isn't for everyone. To get on this type of plan, you must be under 30 or unable to afford other coverage.
A high-deductible health plan (HDHP) is another choice for paying less each month.
If you need to get health care often, it might be cheaper for you to pay more each month so that you have a lower deductible. That means your health plan will start contributing to the cost of your care faster.
I have a high-deductible health insurance plan that leaves me on the hook for a lot of medical expense each year. Can I do anything to save money on my health care?
Consider starting a health savings account known as an HSA. An HSA is a type of investment account paired with a high-deductible health plan that allows you to pay for medical bills with money you've set aside tax free.
The money that you put into an HSA is not considered part of your income.
If you're self-employed you can make tax-deductible contributions to your HSA.
You don't have to pay taxes when you use the money either, as long as you're using it to pay for qualified health expenses. The money you deposit into the account rolls over from year to year and continues to grow tax free over time. You can use the money at any time to cover the cost of medical expenses.
Can I just go without insurance and get my care from the ER?
Counting on the ER for health care is not a good substitute for seeing your own doctor on a regular basis. The hospital is also likely to send you a bill for your treatment, even if you're uninsured.
You can go without health insurance. However, if you do, you’ll pay a penalty of $95 per adult and $47.50 per child in 2014 or 1% of your annual income, whichever is greater. The penalty will go up steeply in the coming years.
Certain people may be exempt from having to pay the penalty.