Open Enrollment: Surprising Co-Pay Tricks to Save Money


"Most of us don't expect to go to the hospital next year, but any of us could," he said.

Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor with Consumer Reports, said there is no standardization in health plans which makes it difficult to give general advice.

"My favorite quote from a health insurance expert is if you've seen one health plan, you've seen one health plan," she said.

Both Metcalf and Thompson see benefits in at least getting tax savings with a tax-deductible health-savings account --only if your employer offers this type of high deductible health plan. These HSAs allow one to transfer tax-deductible money of varying amounts from year to year to be used for health care. These differ from flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, in which the monetary balance expires at the end of each year if you don't use it.

Choosing health care can be difficult for even the healthiest of individuals. But this year, a provision in the new health care law will require insurers to offer a comparison of features.

Metcalf describes the information as a "nutrition facts label" with a summary of benefits and coverage that is "fantastic."

"If you don't get it, ask for it, because it's a real valuable thing," she said.

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