Author Topic: Health Insurance Plan Comparison  (Read 3013 times)

lakeridge

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Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« on: May 23, 2012, 02:29:31 PM »
My wife is getting a new job with options for health insurance and we need to decide on either keeping current coverage with my employer or switching to hers.  My wife does have a serious but manageable condition that requires medicine for the rest of her life and 3-4  doctor visits per year.  Facts are as follows:
Current Plan:
$260/ month premiums, 3000 family deductible, then 80% coverage until 6k out of pocket maximum.  We are within a couple hundred dollars of reaching deductible and company has contributed about 1k towards total.

New option:  HSA eligible plan with same 3k deductible, then 80% coverage until 10k out of pocket maximum.  Benefit here is that there is no monthly premium for us and her employer will actually fund about 2500 of the 3k throughout the year. We would plan on contributing additonal funds in HSA up to max.

Seems like easy decision to switch plans since premium cost goes away and we get money from employer towards deductible.  I'm just thinking about it a bit more since we are very close to meeting deductible under current plan instead of having to start over.  Prescription costs would go up under new plan since not covered by $7 copay but won't make significant difference.  No issue with doctor availability under new plan.  Just want to see how others would analyze as I am not very familiar with insurance plans and especially HSA accounts.  Thanks.

bogart

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Re: Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 02:38:13 PM »
Congratulations to your wife on her new job -- I'm assuming this is a positive change.

Some questions ... how long does your wife have to wait before deciding and are the deductible year and the calendar year the same (or if not, when does the new year start)?  If your wife can wait a few months (to sign up) and there's hope of planning ahead (stocking up on meds and so forth, or biting the cost) and hoping for the best (no ER visits in the final quarter), that could be one strategy.  Also, when is her new employer's open enrollment?  Again, it might make sense to stick with what you've got for this year and then switch over at the next opportunity.

I'm no expert on HSAs, but those are the thoughts/ideas that spring to mind.


lakeridge

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Re: Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2012, 02:56:16 PM »
Thanks.  This is a school position so the timing doesn't line up with my calendar year corporate plan.  What I know is that her job will start in July and she will be benefit eligible August 1.  Looks like open enrollment is end of August/early September so I don't know how it works if she chooses a plan at start of employment and then has open enrollment period right after.  I was trying to think of a way to finish out this year on my plan and then switch but I don't think she will have another enrollment opportunity until next fall when we may be in a similar position.

arebelspy

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Re: Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2012, 07:46:41 PM »
Thanks.  This is a school position so the timing doesn't line up with my calendar year corporate plan.  What I know is that her job will start in July and she will be benefit eligible August 1.  Looks like open enrollment is end of August/early September so I don't know how it works if she chooses a plan at start of employment and then has open enrollment period right after.  I was trying to think of a way to finish out this year on my plan and then switch but I don't think she will have another enrollment opportunity until next fall when we may be in a similar position.

A lot of times there is a new teacher orientation where they sign up for health care, designate beneficiaries for any death benefits provided by the state/district, can sign up for the union, etc.  So she'd likely sign up at that point.
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bogart

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Re: Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2012, 08:24:50 PM »
Thanks.  This is a school position so the timing doesn't line up with my calendar year corporate plan. 

Oh, darn.  I'm also in education but though our work year is academic, our benefits year is calendar (no idea why).  It's also possible, though, that the plan could work in reverse -- you'd want to confirm with the relevant HR orgs (yours and hers) but it may be that if you decide to disenroll at your next opportunity (i.e. calendar year), she could then add you/herself, even if it's not open enrollment for her place of employment in general.  I'm not sure how that works, though, so you'd want to make sure you had the facts straight.

Absent that sort of thing it sounds to me like a wash whether you do it this year or next (her next open enrollment), unless you can plan ahead (regarding medications, visits, etc.) in a way that lumps them usefully (and even then the savings could be small, hard to say without knowing more details). 

Mirwen

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Re: Health Insurance Plan Comparison
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2012, 11:07:54 PM »
If there are no premiums for the HSA and you want to switch to that (I would), why not sign up right away?  If you want to maintain the current coverage for the rest of the calendar year you can.  There's no cost to being double covered over switching later.  In fact, they will pay you to do so in the form of the HSA deposits right away. 

Furthermore, I would be concerned about not signing up for health coverage right away if she has a pre-existing condition.  It could be a lot of paperwork hassle later to prove you had continuous coverage and then reverse any denied benefits.