Reduce your medical deductible and prepare for the unexpected

August 17, 2020

“Call to Health has a number of good incentives, starting with the goal of lowering one’s deductible. But then you want to go further and reach those next two levels. And the way to each of the levels takes one on a journey that is really good.”

– Robert Birch, Call to Health participant

When you participate in Call to Health* you can reduce your medical deductible for the following year. But what exactly is a deductible and why is it important to take steps to reduce yours?

The deductible is a specified dollar amount you pay each year for certain covered services before the Medical Plan begins to pay benefits. Your deductible amount varies depending on which medical plan option you’re enrolled in and whether you enroll any family members. The deductible for PPO participants, for example, is based on effective salary, while those enrolled in the EPO or HDHP pay a set amount.

Preparing for the unexpected

If offered by your employer, tax-advantaged accounts, such as a healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA), can be used to help offset your deductible and other eligible healthcare expenses you pay out of pocket.

If you use few medical services other than preventive care, you may not give much thought to your deductible. Even if you see your doctor regularly throughout the year, if you’re enrolled in the PPO or EPO, you pay a flat dollar copay with no deductible for office visits, so your expenses may never reach the deductible in a given year.

But what if you or a covered family member had an unexpected illness requiring hospitalization or were injured and rushed to the emergency room? Regardless of which medical option you’re enrolled in, you must first pay the annual deductible before the plan pays benefits for inpatient hospital admissions, outpatient hospital services, and emergency room care, as well as many other types of covered expenses.

Those costs can add up quickly. According to a Health Care Cost Institute report, the average cost for an emergency room visit in 2017 was $1,389. That doesn’t include follow-up care or related services from doctors who bill for their services separately from the hospital. Before the plan would pay benefits, you would need to pay for these expenses out of your pocket until your covered out-of-pocket costs reached the deductible amount.

Save on 2021 medical deductibles

Learn what some common Medical Plan terms mean while you earn Call to Health points. Log on to the Call to Health website and complete the Understanding Medical Plan Terms video challenge to earn 20 points.

When you complete Call to Health* Level 1 by November 13, 2020, your individual and/or family medical deductibles will be reduced by as much as one-third for 2021. The potential savings are significant: $220 or more if you’re in the PPO, at least $500 if you’re in the EPO, and at least $750 if you’re in the HDHP. That means more money in your pocket if you or your covered spouse or child is sick or injured.

Don’t miss this opportunity to save on your deductible next year and lower your potential out-of-pocket costs for care. Get started today.

*Call to Health is available to employees and their spouses with medical coverage through the Board of Pensions; it is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.