We’ve all been there—thrilled that we finally have a job where we’ll have health insurance. But, then we’re handed a packet that delineates different insurance premium options, and suddenly we’re overwhelmed. There’s all this talk of preventive health services, outpatient care, hospital care, different tiers of prescriptions, and (plays ominous music) deductibles.
For those who are fortunate enough to not yet had to bear the brunt of a deductible, a deductible is essentially the amount you must pay before the insurance provider will begin to pay for services. The premium, which is the amount taken out of each paycheck for your insurance plan, is typically inversely related to the deductible cost—so the premium cost might be higher per paycheck, but the deductible will be lower, and vice versa. A co-pay is the set amount due for any service—such as $30 for a doctor’s visit or $20 for a certain tier prescription.
Health insurance deductibles are slightly different than car or home deductibles, in that providers will still give some benefits before you meet your deductible. But, it’s still a lump sum that you have to pay all of before you only have to pay your co-pay, and nothing more.
But, let’s be real, that doesn’t make them any friendlier to our pocketbooks.
Mayhap this has something to do with the reality that we never fully understand what we’re signing up for, but it’s also because health insurance is a necessary evil run by sneaky bastards.
There’s the moment when you get your first paycheck, and see how much is going to be taken out EVERY PAYCHECK to cover the health insurance you were at first so blissfully excited to finally acquire.
Then you decide to take advantage of the health insurance and make all of those appointments for doctors that you haven’t seen in three years (ahem, I mean six months to one year). You’re going to get your teeth all cleaned up, labs drawn, vagina examined—so much excitement.
But then. BUT THEN…
You receive the multiple bills for the services you thought your hard-earned health insurance was going to cover.
What’s to blame? Oh what’s that I hear—insurance deductibles?
For example, you go to get your women’s annual exam and you just have to pay a co-pay when you leave. Turns out that that co-pay only covers the doctor peering into your vagina, and the labwork cost goes towards your deductible.
You pat yourself on the back for being oh so healthy, but then… the bills start rolling into your mailbox. STD testing? Pap smears? Bloodwork? Oh, I’m sorry, you have to pay for all of it.
So, in the end, we’re dubiously healthy and still broke as fuck.
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