Each insurance company negotiates discounted rates
Health insurance companies rarely pay the full charge for a service; instead, they negotiate the price they will pay for health care services ahead of time. Each insurance company negotiates with health care providers to establish the discounted prices that their members will pay to receive care and services.
So, when you're choosing a plan you may want to use the Health Costs section of this site to do some comparisons of sample services to see how the cost varies from plan to plan before you decide.
Reduce your share of the cost
When you are paying out-of-pocket toward your deductible or for your share of co-insurance, you'll pay less when the cost of the service is less. The amount you pay can be very different depending on the provider or facility you use because the price that providers or facilities charge for the same health service can vary considerably. This is true among in-network providers, and among out-of-network providers.
If you don't have insurance, you may be responsible for more of your costs
Without insurance, you may have to pay the full charge for services yourself. Comparing costs can still help you save, because you'll pay less when the cost of services is less.
It pays to shop around, when you can
Obviously, in an emergency you're not going to take the time to shop around. But, if you are looking for care today, need a new doctor, or are scheduling a procedure that doesn't need to happen immediately, you can save a lot by doing some comparisons.
Use the Health Costs section of this site to compare costs at various providers/facilities and under different health plans.