Confused about health insurance options

Gerri answers viewers questions on high deductible health care plans, changes to Medicare and long-term care insurance.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN personal finance editor

NEW YORK (CNN) -- QUESTION 1: I haven't heard much about consumer driven health care plans or high deductible health care plans. Will these types of plans, with the health savings account feature, have a place under a new Health Care Bill? -- Keagan

These types of plans will be around, but there will be a new requirement that could make these policies more expensive.

Let's say that right now you have a high deductible plan that picks up 60% of your medical bills after you meet that deductible. Under this bill, all consumer driven health care plans --including high deductible plans, will have to pick up at least 65% of your costs according to John Desser of

So, since the company will be taking on more costs, you will likely have to pay more in premiums. That could make these health care options much less attractive. Another change under this bill -- the caps on how much you can put into your flexible spending account will be reduced to $2,500 from the $5,000 cap that's on today.

QUESTION 2: My husband and I ages 75 and 77 and we are on Medicare and supplemental insurance. What is going to happen to us if they pass this [health care] bill? Paying the premium means we cannot go on vacation, go to movies or eat out. -- Nell, Kentucky

There will be no changes to Medicare as far as you're concerned, you won't be paying more in copayments, no new fees according to Desser. However, under this plan payments from the government to doctors and other health care providers will be cut. So, over time you may find fewer health care providers willing to take on Medicare patients.

QUESTION 3: Long-term health care insurance is that mystery to be solved. Should I get it? -- Anonymous

Long term care insurance is there to protect your assets in case you need to pay for assisted living, home care or a nursing home stay. Medicare pays for only some medically related home care and short-term stays in a nursing facility, and nothing at all for long-term care.

The downside to these plans is that they can be expensive -- since you might be paying for it decades before you use it.

If you don't have a net worth over $250,000, it's probably not worth your while since you'll probably have to rely on government programs anyway if you need long-term care. Many financial planners advice may advise you to make sure you have life and disability insurance instead of paying for long-term care insurance.

-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article. To top of page

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