Gamble with what you know

Opting for a higher deductible and betting on staying healthy may be risky, however, if the family lacks funds to cover the deductible and pay for care, should the need arise. “It’s not always that clear,” said Matthew Rae, associate director of the Kaiser foundation’s program on the health care marketplace and a co-author of the employer benefits report.

The problem is that some medical needs are unpredictable. “No one says, ‘I’m planning to get cancer next year,’” said Caitlin Donovan, a spokeswoman for the Patient Advocate Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps people with serious illnesses.

Still, Donovan said, workers should at least try to estimate what they know they’ll spend money on before selecting a plan, like prescriptions they take regularly or treatments they expect to schedule. “Gamble with what you know,” she said.

Check whether your plan will still cover your specific prescriptions and whether your doctor and hospital will remain in your covered network — where costs are lower — for the coming year and call to verify it. “Online directories are notorious for being inaccurate,” Donovan said.

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