More than half of Americans said they are worried about getting surprise medical bills they cannot afford, and consumer advocates said one way to avoid them is to improve your health literacy.
The health advocacy group Consumers for Quality Care is urging people looking for new coverage, or to change their existing insurance plan, to do their homework. Board member Mary Smith advises not to be lured only by low prices. She said the insurance plans with the lowest premiums often include high deductibles, co-insurance, and co-pays.
“There’s also sometimes short-term, limited-duration insurance plans,” Smith said. “They often exclude coverage on pre-existing conditions – including conditions an individual did not know they had, or were not aware required medical intervention.”
Smith said people with prescriptions for an ongoing medical condition should also avoid what are known as co-pay accumulator programs, which can prevent using a drug manufacturer’s coupons as part of a patient’s maximum out-of-pocket costs. On ‘healthcare.gov’ or ‘CoverMT.org,’ you can also find out if you qualify for a federal subsidy to help with monthly premium costs. Congress renewed funding for the subsidies through 2025.