If you know you’ll be visiting the doctor often or needing more care, you may be better off choosing a plan with bigger monthly premiums that will cover a larger share of your medical bills. With those plans, you may only need to pay a small fee, known as a co-payment, when you go to the doctor or fill a prescription. “In a sense you’re paying in advance, knowing that you’re going to need more care,” says Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy at the National Business Group on Health, a group that represents large employers.
In addition to tax benefits, your plan may offer other programs to help you save on health costs. Many plans are rolling out better price-comparison tools that can make it easier to see how much one procedure, such as an MRI, might cost at one hospital vs. another, Lane says. More employers are also covering telemedicine services, such as those that let consumers consult with a doctor over the phone or through a video chat. At about $40 a visit, it can be an appealing option for people who want the convenience of seeing a doctor remotely, Wojcik says. (For people with high deductibles, it can also be less expensive than seeing a doctor in person.)