Confusion About Tiered Health Plans

Dr. Sarah Bechta tries to make sense of her tiered insurance options

The next time you sign up for health insurance, the cheapest option may well be a “tiered” plan.

This is insurance that rates doctors and hospitals based on the cost and quality of their care and then charges you based on your provider’s rating. Would this kind of coverage make sense for you and your family?


Sarah Bechta, a wife, mother and physician from Northborough sat down at her kitchen table with a folder full of brochures, pages from insurance websites and a hand drawn spreadsheet, to try to answer that question.

She started by comparing her premium for traditional insurance and a tiered plan. Tiered insurance would cut her premium in half and “would save about $1400 a year. It made me stop and think,” said Bechta.

But would she actually save that $1400 or would it be eaten up in higher co-pays and deductibles?

“That was the thing that was really hard to predict, I could not figure it out,” said Bechta, even though as a doctor, Bechta believes that she’s “as capable, or more capable than everybody else who’s looking at this information.” Continue reading