The new year meant the start of a new annual deductible for most
patients with health insurance. For many individuals, particularly those
with health plans purchased through the new Obamacare insurance
exchanges, deductibles are higher and benefits have changed, making it
harder to determine their out-of-pocket costs for medical procedures,
according to CoverageCalculator.com.
"Many patients who receive medical care in January or February often
have to pay 100% of the cost, because the balance in their health
insurance annual deductible has rolled back to zero. In deciding when or
where to receive medical procedures, patients naturally want to know
their out-of-pocket costs will be. Our free online calculator empowers
patients to have an informed conversation with their physicians about
the cost of treatment," said Dr. Weintrub, a reired physician,
entrepreneur and founder of CoverageCalculator.com.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, medical insurance deductibles
for plans on the federal exchange average $3,000, and those for the
least expensive, bronze plans average $5,082. The Obamacare insurance
plans are available at www.Healthcare.gov.
Deductibles for the 165 million people covered by employer-sponsored
insurance plans average $1,135 a year in 2013, according to a separate
According to Dr. Weintrub, the three most important factors in when and
where patients decide to receive care are "urgency, quality of care and
"When patients know what their out-of-pocket costs will be, they can
make informed decisions. While some conditions require immediate
treatments, many elective procedures can be postponed until later in the
year when an individual has met their deductible," said Dr. Weintrub.
As explained on the
Coverage Calculator site, patients discuss potential fees with their
physician and obtain co-payment, deductible and co-insurance coverage
data from health plans. Using this data, Coverage Calculator "does the
math" and determines the out-of-pocket cost.
Determining out-of-pocket costs in advance can lead to improved patient
satisfaction and faster physician payment. "Physician practice
management experts report that most patients are willing and able to pay
their share of the bill in the office, if it is explained to them," said
CoverageCalculator Inc. is an independent, for profit corporation based
in Providence, R.I.
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