Yesterday I got an email; it is open enrollment season for health insurance, and we have a choice this year. We can stick with the same policy, and premiums are going up about $50/month, or we can switch to a high-deductible policy. They are going to have someone come in and explain the choices but as I understand it, the two policies include the same network of doctors, and we will get the "adjusted" in-network prices if we use network doctors. The difference is that if we choose the new option, we will have a deductible of $5,000 per person with a maximum of $9,000 per family. We will also save $3094.08 per year on premiums.
The high-deductible policy comes with a health savings account. This is an account to which we can contribute pre-tax dollars (say the money we save on premiums, plus the money we used to put in our flexible spending account). If we withdraw the money to pay health care expenses it is not taxed. The money can stay in the account indefinitely, and when we retire, we can withdraw the money, though we'll pay taxes on it then; or if we don't need it, it can stay there compounding until we die.
Have you chosen a high-deductible health plan? Have you been happy?