Health insurance is complicated.

People make mistakes. Fortunately, these mistakes are usually very preventable.

The Top 10 Health Insurance Mistakes People Make (Number 10’s a Doozy!)

To minimize your chances of making any of these or other mistakes that can cost you money and make it harder for you to access the health care you need, you should discuss your needs and options with your ColoHealth Personal Benefits Manager.

It’s absolutely free—and their expertise can save you thousands of dollars a year!

That said, here are ten of the most common mistakes and oversights that we see people make almost every day:

1. Assuming Good Health Eliminates the Need for Insurance

One of the gravest mistakes is thinking that good health today negates the need for health insurance. 

Accidents or unexpected medical conditions can occur at any time, making health insurance crucial for mitigating financial risk.

2. Basing Choice Solely on Premiums

While monthly premiums are an important consideration, they shouldn’t be the sole factor in choosing a plan.

Lower premiums often mean higher out-of-pocket expenses when you receive medical care, so be sure to calculate the total potential costs under each plan.



3. Accidental Use of Out-of-Network Doctors

Many people inadvertently use out-of-network doctors, only to get hit with hefty bills later.

Always verify whether a healthcare provider is within your plan’s network before scheduling any appointments or procedures.

Note: Most healthsharing plans give you much more latitude when choosing a doctor. Unlike HMOs, health sharing plans typically don’t use limited networks of authorized care providers.

So with most health sharing plans, you don’t have to worry about accidentally going out of network.

4. Neglecting to Check if Your Preferred Doctors Are In-Network

Before committing to a plan, confirm whether your favorite doctors are in-network.

Failing to do so could force you to choose between higher medical bills or finding a new healthcare provider.

5. Choosing a Plan Without Prescription Drug Coverage

Medication can be a major expense.

Failing to secure a plan with prescription drug coverage could lead to high out-of-pocket costs, so verify that any required medications are covered by your plan, or consider exploring discount drug plans.

Here’s a recent ColoHealth Health and Wealth newsletter piece on insider tips and best practices for reducing your prescription drug costs!

6. Overpaying for Gold or Platinum Obamacare Plans

While higher-tier plans offer more comprehensive coverage, they come with higher premiums.

If you are in good health and can afford the co-insurance associated with a Silver-tier plan, it might be more cost-effective.

Additionally, if you qualify for a Cost Sharing Reduction subsidy under the Affordable Care Act, you must elect a Silver tier plan in order to benefit from the subsidy. 

7. Not Considering an HSA-Eligible High-Deductible Health Plan

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) offer triple tax benefits and can be used for qualified medical expenses.

High-deductible health plans that are HSA-eligible often have lower premiums, making them a good option for many people.

What’s more, contributing to an HSA and using an HSA to manage your healthcare expenses can save thousands of dollars in taxes.

It’s also an excellent source of retirement savings once you turn 65. 

8. Overlooking Health Sharing as a Lower-Cost Alternative

Health sharing plans are not insurance, but they can serve as a cost-effective alternative for many people.

Your monthly costs in a health sharing plan are typically up to 50% less than the cost of a comparable Marketplace insurance policy without a subsidy.

If you don’t qualify for an Obamacare subsidy, or if your subsidy is relatively small, and you’re in reasonably good health, you may be much better off in a lower cost health sharing plan.

Unlike ACA-style traditional health insurance HMOs and PPOs, which restrict you to narrow networks of approved providers, most ColoHealth sharing plans allow you the freedom to choose any healthcare provider you want.

9. Missing Open Enrollment Periods

Open Enrollment, running from November 1st to January 15th in Colorado.

This is the only time during the year you can enroll or make changes to your health insurance without a qualifying life event.

Missing this period can leave you stuck in a suboptimal plan or without coverage altogether.

Click here for everything you need to know about this coming Open Enrollment.

And if you already missed it, click here to learn more about your options and strategies that you can use to get a plan in place outside Open Enrollment.

Hint: You can sign up for a health sharing plan at any time during the year.

However, if you have pre-existing conditions, you may face a waiting period before costs to treat those conditions become fully shareable in your new plan. 

10. Skipping disability and long-term care insurance

An unexpected injury or illness can knock you out of the workforce for months or even years.

Health insurance pays your doctors’ bills. But it doesn’t replace your lost income.

For that, you need disability insurance.

Health insurance also doesn’t pay for long-term nursing home, assisted living, or memory care. Not even Medicare pays for this. For this type of care, you need to either pay out of pocket, or line up long-term care insurance.

This is a major oversight for millions of Americans, and most people are woefully underinsured for these two potentially disastrous risks.

But they are easy to insure against if you’re currently in good health. The best time to address it and get some protection in place against disability or long-term care is now, while you are still in good health.

As we all know, that can change tomorrow. So, the sooner you contact your ColoHealth Personal Benefits Manager and get disability or long-term care insurance in place, the better. 



What to Do Next?

If you have questions about health insurance options, including health sharing plans and high-deductible health plans that are HSA-eligible, schedule a free personal consultation with a Personal Benefits Manager.

They can help guide you through the maze of choices to find the plan that best suits your healthcare needs and financial situation.

Choosing a health plan can be a time-consuming process. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

You can avoid falling into these common health care traps, and get professional help today.

For Further Reading: Best Health Plans in Colorado for Families | How to Open an HSA in Colorado | Why Colorado Doctors Are Switching to Direct Primary Care