Health plans that require consumers to spend thousands of dollars before insurance kicks in are more common than ever before.
About 40 percent of Americans have health plans with $1,200 or more in deductibles.
The plans are meant to push consumers to make smarter health care choices, but a new study from USC has found they put some people at greater financial risk.
The research, in the April edition of the American Journal of Managed Care, shows people with chronic health conditions, and those with lower incomes, are the most likely to be impacted by a high medical bill stemming from the deductible.
"When they face this bill, it has a serious consequence for them. Not every family can absorb a $2,000 bill without changing their lifestyle," said Neeraj Sood, Director of Research at the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.
"The most vulnerable populations are the ones who are going to face the highest risk."
To see how a high deductible plan might affect you, here's a breakdown of how they work - and what to look out for:
WHAT DOES HIGH DEDUCTIBLE MEAN, EXACTLY?
The premium is your monthly payment that keeps your name on the health insurance rolls. The deductible is the amount you have to pay before the health insurance kicks in. It could be anywhere from $1200 to $2000 or $3000 -- even up to $10,000.
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