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Finding Your Way in the Health Care System

From the flu to broken bones, illnesses and medical emergencies seem to be inevitable parts of raising kids. It can be stressful any time your child needs medical attention, but even more so when you're worried about where to get that care and how much it will cost.

About Consumer-Directed Health Care

We have more options for getting health care and paying for it than ever before. There is a movement toward consumer-directed health care, which is health insurance that's designed to get those who use health care — like parents — to play a bigger part in keeping costs in check.

Many different types of consumer-directed health care plans are available, each with its own benefits and limitations. Many of these plans feature high deductibles (the amount of money parents must spend before health care is covered by insurance) as well as health care savings accounts, which make it easier for parents to save money to pay for the services that insurance doesn't cover.

Some plans cover preventive care, routine checkups, vaccines, tests, and regular disease screenings, but others don't. So when you're choosing health insurance, it's important to look for a plan that meets your family's needs.

Navigating the Health Care System

Rising costs and increased variety among health care plans can make it challenging to find your way in the health care system. The good news is that making decisions while everyone is healthy can help reduce the stress and financial strain when someone in your family does need medical care.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2013

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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