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Dear Addy: Deductible

Dear Addy,

My health insurance premiums were $500/month, so I switched insurance plans during my company’s open enrollment period last year. Now I only pay $140/month. I have been very excited to have some extra cash each month but this has come at a big price. I need surgery on my injured leg, but can’t afford it. My new plan has a low monthly premium, but a $2,000 deductible. I can’t walk or afford the surgery because of the out-of-pocket cost. What can I do?

Signed,

Hoping to Heal

Dear Hoping,

There are programs that may offer assistance in covering the cost of medical bills, like the one offered by Patient Assistance Services (PSI). Check them out. As to the deductible dilemma, there is no crystal ball to tell you that you will injure your leg, won’t be able to walk, and won’t be able to afford surgery to get you back on your feet. When it comes to health insurance, plan for the worst. Before enrolling in a new plan, weigh the deductible against the monthly premium and see what you can afford. It is important to read the policy information carefully prior to enrolling and each year you are enrolled because the plan benefits may change. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance providers are required to offer easy-to-read fact sheets about their plan offerings.

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