As we enter open enrollment, high deductible/co-insurance plans are here to stay and we all know it. Think about this: The average cost of an individual plan is $393 per month with annual deductible of $4,328. For a family, it’s $1,021 per month and $8,352 deductible. Before insurance pays a dime on any claim, you must pay $9,044 (individual) and $20,604 (family); all this before you pay any co-insurance costs.

Healthcare is complicated, expensive, full of gaps, incomprehensible fraud and, in dire need of a massive overhaul; none of which will happen soon. In the meantime, how do you make yours or your families healthcare insurance plan work effectively? And, manage both the delivery and costs of it? The best way is to do it before you use it. Your options are best when you have hard numbers to work with so that you don’t over/under spend.

As you enter this open enrollment period, anticipate yours or your family’s utilization for the year including screening versus diagnostic exams; prescription usages; wellness exams. Are you approaching 40, 50 or 60? If so, additional recommended tests come into play. Compare to your utilization for the current year, add 10 percent and you will have a number that will help guide you to what is best and affordable for you.