See how different plan types cover three real-life scenarios
Learn how these common plans types – copay only, traditional, and HDHP -- cover three real-life scenarios.
1. Having a baby
The average cost to welcome a child to the world is $13,540.
- $3,900 with a traditional plan: The member is typically responsible for 20% of her medical costs up to the deductible ($2700)—and a percentage of the costs after that, including hospital charges for herself ($200 coinsurance) and the baby ($200 coinsurance), obstetric care ($200 coinsurance), and lab tests ($800 coinsurance). All of which totals $3,900 for a two-day stay.
- $2,500 with a copay plan: With a copay plan there is no deductible, so the member will pay one charge for her entire hospital stay—about $2,500.
Net-net: The member fares better with a copay plan, in addition to knowing labor and delivery costs up front.
2. Making a sick visit to a primary care doctor
The average cost to visit a primary care doctor when your child has strep throat or an ear infection is $200.
- $200 with a high deductible health plan (HDHP): The member will pay the full out-of-pocket price ($200), unless he's already met his deductible for the year. In 2018 HDHPs must have a minimum family deductible of $2600.1
- $45 with a copay plan: With a straight copay plan the member would pay an average of $45 for an office visit copay.
- $40 with a traditional plan: With a traditional plan the member would owe about 20% of the doctor's services, or $40.
Net-net: The member pays about the same with a co-pay or traditional plan, both of which cost less than the HDHP amount.
3. Visiting an emergency room
In an emergency you're probably not comparing costs, but a trip to the ER averages $6,600.
- $2,760 with a traditional plan: You'll pay about $2,760 for services after you pay your deductible, plus coinsurance for the emergency room doctor, X-rays and lab tests, among other things.
- $1,200 with a co-pay plan: You'll owe about $1,200 for everything, including straight copays for the ambulance, ER and any advanced imaging.
Net-net: You'd fare better with a co-pay plan, even with unexpected medical issues.