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Have a new job and getting new insurance? Deductibles — what you pay out of pocket before you’re covered — are a fact of life for most health insurance policies. How you handle them can help stretch your health insurance dollars:
If you’re healthy, go with a high deductible. A larger deductible upfront will lower your premiums — a fair tradeoff if you’re fit and don’t seek medical help very often.
If you’re not, choose a lower deductible. Your premiums will go up, but your coverage will kick in sooner, says Jack Hungelmann, author of Insurance for Dummies.
As you grow older, increase your deductible. With age, you’ll be needing more medical care, and your premiums will increase, too. Try to offset higher premiums by opting for a higher deductible, Hungelmann says.
Take advantage of health savings accounts. Your employer may offer these, or you can set one up on your own. These allow you to deposit money pre-tax, which can then be used to pay for uncovered health expenses, such as those you accrue while meeting your deductible. You can set one up at a bank, insurance company or other institution. “If you’re able to meet a $3,000 deductible in a pre-tax account, it’s worth it,” Hungelmann says.