HDHP vs. Low Deductibles: Pros & Cons

When you’re looking at health insurance options, there are many choices to make. For example, you can choose between a HDHP or a plan with a lower deductible.

Should I Choose a HDHP?

As always, first you need to examine the plan’s benefits. Does the plan in question provide the benefits you need or allow you to visit your preferred doctors and hospitals? If not, it’s not the plan for you.

All things being equal, you may find yourself have to decide between a HDHP or a plan with a lower deductible. There are pros and cons to each.

Higher Premiums

Generally speaking, plans with higher premiums tend to have lower deductibles. They often also have lower copays or coinsurance. You’re paying a larger amount up front, but if you utilize your insurance frequently, this may work in your favor.

If you have extensive health needs, having a plan a lower deductible may be better suited to your needs. You’ll most likely meet your deductible quickly and then pay significantly less for your healthcare. So, if you’re someone with a chronic condition or someone that needs to visit multiple specialists or doctors this may be a good idea. Also, if you have any medical procedures planned, you may be better off with more coverage.

If you have small children, you may want to consider a plan with a lower deductible. In general, children tend to get sick and injured more frequently than adults. You may be more likely to meet that deductible quickly. Also, if you have a family plan, you may be able to meet your family deductible before the individual deductibles are met.


Often plans with lower premiums have higher deductibles. These plans may seem more appealing. But, buyer beware. You may end up spending more in the long run if it’s not suited to your needs. You may have significant costs out of pocket if your plan has a higher deductible.

However, if you are in relatively good health and plan to make use of basic services covered prior to meeting your deductible, this may be a good option for you. You’ll still have protection should you need major medical care and may save money by opting for a lower premium plan. Should you need major medical care, you’ll have a higher deductible to meet but you’ll be protected with coinsurance or copays after that. There is also an out of pocket maximum to help prevent major medical debt.

Also, if you are interested in purchasing a plan with an options HSA (health savings account), your only option is a HDHP (high deductible health plan). There are many tax saving benefits of HSAs but your insurance options will be a little more limited.

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Jesse Smedley is the Principal Broker for iHealthBrokers and the founder, president, and CEO of Smedley Insurance Group, Inc. and iHealthBrokers.com. Since the inception of SIG in 2007, Jesse has been dedicated to helping people save money on their health insurance by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their health insurance options, both under age 65 and Medicare beneficiaries. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for expert columns regarding health insurance and Medicare.

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