When you compare the price of different health insurance plans, you should consider both the cost of the monthly premiums and the cost of out-of-pocket expenses. Out-of-pocket costs could end up being more than amount you thought you would save by choosing a plan with a lower monthly premium. Out-of-pocket expenses might include the following.


Deductibles refers to the amount you must pay on your own before the insurance coverage begins. If you are considering a plan with a deductible, find out exactly how the deductible works. Ask if there is one annual across-the-board deductible or if there are separate deductibles for specific services or for each family member. Add up how much you might have to pay out of pocket for all the deductibles if you or your family faced health problems.


Co-payments refers to the amount you must pay out of pocket at the time of the service. These might be charged for prescriptions, doctor visits, surgical procedures and hospital stays. Estimate how much you might spend on co-payments in a year by adding up how many prescriptions you might need to fill, how many doctor's visits you might need, and whether it is likely you would require a hospital stay or outpatient surgery.

Instead of co-payments, some plans include co-insurance, which means that the insurance company only pays a certain percentage of each bill (usually 80%) and you pay the rest.