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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health Insurance options

I signed up for health insurance benefits at my new company today. I had essentially three choices.

HMO
I've never used an HMO, and though I have heard some negative press about them, I think it would work ok for me. I don't have health issues and am a low maintenance customer. Free to me, minimal copays ($15 for my monthly prescription). I don't think I would mind being forced to deal with a Primary Care Physician.

Traditional PPO account
This cost about $16 per a bi weekly pay period, so just $416 year for premiums. Same copays as the HMO. You can see any in-network doctor and have a lot more freedom in your medical care. You can see out of network doctors for reduced benefits.

PPO + Health Savings Account (HSA)
This is free to me, but is a high deductible plan. Preventative care is covered 100%, but everything else is out of pocket up to the deductible, then benefits kick in. With this plan, I am eligible for a HSA to put pre-tax dollars in to spend on medical care, which carry over year to year. My company will contribute $700 to this account. I believe the yearly deductible is about $1500, but I can't quite recall.

I used a HSA at my last job (which had worse benefit options) so I'm already comfortable with them. I felt doubts about my HSA at the end of last year, because almost all the money I put in I took back out to buy my prescriptions with. My company didn't contribute. However, regular insurance was still 60/mo, so I came out... Well, I think I came out a little behind using the Health savings Account at my last job. But you live, you learn. I pretty much immediately ruled out the traditional PPO, because it seemed so similar to the HMO, except you could see more doctors and you had to pay money for it. I didn't need the freedom. The HMO seemed like a really cheap option, so I considered it.

I was left to debate the HMO and the PPO+HSA. Barring catastrophe, I need very little medical care. I see the doctor once a year for a women's health check-up, and use birth control each month, which does cost $45 without coverage. Last year I got an eye infection and was fixed up for about $100. I exercise, but I don't play any physical sports. Or any sports, really.

So, I went with the HSA, and chose to contribute $1500 of my own money to it. At first glance, that seems like the most expensive choice. My company contribution will cover my prescription costs, and probably nearly all other costs, so the plan is still free to me. Except I'll also have $1500 stored up for future health expenses. Next year, I shouldn't have to contribute much at all, though I probably will try to build it a little each year. In the short term, it is less cash in my pocket now. But the money being set aside is mine. It offers flexibility in the long term.

Something to note, a big disadvantage of HSA's are the fees. Most plans you can find online have high fees and/or no investment options. My HSA administrator really is no better, but the company pays the fees for me. I'm not intending to use this account as a sort of IRA for health (as suggested by Jonathan on MyMoneyBlog), so investment opportunities aren't a big priority either.

Did I make the right choice? Well, it depends on if I have any major surprise medical issues this year. Let's hope it was a good choice.

2 comments:

Lauren said...

I think that PPO is the way to go. There's so much more flexibility there and you are much less likely to have an issue with being allowed to go to a certain doctor.

My hubby, a very healthy 24 year old (at the time) got really really sick last year (bad kidney stone that required 3 surgeries to fix). Our PPO ended up helping us by allowing him to go see the specialist he needed rather than going through the hoops of getting referred officially and getting the paperwork everywhere. We didn't have an HSA and it turned out to be a very expensive start of the year for us because of it. I think you got the best thing possible. I wish we had an HSA...

SJean said...

thanks for the comment lauren! There is a PPO option that doesn't come with a HSA. The reason I have an HSA is because my plan basically covers nothing until you reached a deductible of about $2000. Most PPOs pay for a lot more. (I think)

Did you have a high deductible plan?

I'm betting, a little bit, on good health. Odds are in my favor, but we'll have to see.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health Insurance options

I signed up for health insurance benefits at my new company today. I had essentially three choices.

HMO
I've never used an HMO, and though I have heard some negative press about them, I think it would work ok for me. I don't have health issues and am a low maintenance customer. Free to me, minimal copays ($15 for my monthly prescription). I don't think I would mind being forced to deal with a Primary Care Physician.

Traditional PPO account
This cost about $16 per a bi weekly pay period, so just $416 year for premiums. Same copays as the HMO. You can see any in-network doctor and have a lot more freedom in your medical care. You can see out of network doctors for reduced benefits.

PPO + Health Savings Account (HSA)
This is free to me, but is a high deductible plan. Preventative care is covered 100%, but everything else is out of pocket up to the deductible, then benefits kick in. With this plan, I am eligible for a HSA to put pre-tax dollars in to spend on medical care, which carry over year to year. My company will contribute $700 to this account. I believe the yearly deductible is about $1500, but I can't quite recall.

I used a HSA at my last job (which had worse benefit options) so I'm already comfortable with them. I felt doubts about my HSA at the end of last year, because almost all the money I put in I took back out to buy my prescriptions with. My company didn't contribute. However, regular insurance was still 60/mo, so I came out... Well, I think I came out a little behind using the Health savings Account at my last job. But you live, you learn. I pretty much immediately ruled out the traditional PPO, because it seemed so similar to the HMO, except you could see more doctors and you had to pay money for it. I didn't need the freedom. The HMO seemed like a really cheap option, so I considered it.

I was left to debate the HMO and the PPO+HSA. Barring catastrophe, I need very little medical care. I see the doctor once a year for a women's health check-up, and use birth control each month, which does cost $45 without coverage. Last year I got an eye infection and was fixed up for about $100. I exercise, but I don't play any physical sports. Or any sports, really.

So, I went with the HSA, and chose to contribute $1500 of my own money to it. At first glance, that seems like the most expensive choice. My company contribution will cover my prescription costs, and probably nearly all other costs, so the plan is still free to me. Except I'll also have $1500 stored up for future health expenses. Next year, I shouldn't have to contribute much at all, though I probably will try to build it a little each year. In the short term, it is less cash in my pocket now. But the money being set aside is mine. It offers flexibility in the long term.

Something to note, a big disadvantage of HSA's are the fees. Most plans you can find online have high fees and/or no investment options. My HSA administrator really is no better, but the company pays the fees for me. I'm not intending to use this account as a sort of IRA for health (as suggested by Jonathan on MyMoneyBlog), so investment opportunities aren't a big priority either.

Did I make the right choice? Well, it depends on if I have any major surprise medical issues this year. Let's hope it was a good choice.

2 comments:

Lauren said...

I think that PPO is the way to go. There's so much more flexibility there and you are much less likely to have an issue with being allowed to go to a certain doctor.

My hubby, a very healthy 24 year old (at the time) got really really sick last year (bad kidney stone that required 3 surgeries to fix). Our PPO ended up helping us by allowing him to go see the specialist he needed rather than going through the hoops of getting referred officially and getting the paperwork everywhere. We didn't have an HSA and it turned out to be a very expensive start of the year for us because of it. I think you got the best thing possible. I wish we had an HSA...

SJean said...

thanks for the comment lauren! There is a PPO option that doesn't come with a HSA. The reason I have an HSA is because my plan basically covers nothing until you reached a deductible of about $2000. Most PPOs pay for a lot more. (I think)

Did you have a high deductible plan?

I'm betting, a little bit, on good health. Odds are in my favor, but we'll have to see.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health Insurance options

I signed up for health insurance benefits at my new company today. I had essentially three choices.

HMO
I've never used an HMO, and though I have heard some negative press about them, I think it would work ok for me. I don't have health issues and am a low maintenance customer. Free to me, minimal copays ($15 for my monthly prescription). I don't think I would mind being forced to deal with a Primary Care Physician.

Traditional PPO account
This cost about $16 per a bi weekly pay period, so just $416 year for premiums. Same copays as the HMO. You can see any in-network doctor and have a lot more freedom in your medical care. You can see out of network doctors for reduced benefits.

PPO + Health Savings Account (HSA)
This is free to me, but is a high deductible plan. Preventative care is covered 100%, but everything else is out of pocket up to the deductible, then benefits kick in. With this plan, I am eligible for a HSA to put pre-tax dollars in to spend on medical care, which carry over year to year. My company will contribute $700 to this account. I believe the yearly deductible is about $1500, but I can't quite recall.

I used a HSA at my last job (which had worse benefit options) so I'm already comfortable with them. I felt doubts about my HSA at the end of last year, because almost all the money I put in I took back out to buy my prescriptions with. My company didn't contribute. However, regular insurance was still 60/mo, so I came out... Well, I think I came out a little behind using the Health savings Account at my last job. But you live, you learn. I pretty much immediately ruled out the traditional PPO, because it seemed so similar to the HMO, except you could see more doctors and you had to pay money for it. I didn't need the freedom. The HMO seemed like a really cheap option, so I considered it.

I was left to debate the HMO and the PPO+HSA. Barring catastrophe, I need very little medical care. I see the doctor once a year for a women's health check-up, and use birth control each month, which does cost $45 without coverage. Last year I got an eye infection and was fixed up for about $100. I exercise, but I don't play any physical sports. Or any sports, really.

So, I went with the HSA, and chose to contribute $1500 of my own money to it. At first glance, that seems like the most expensive choice. My company contribution will cover my prescription costs, and probably nearly all other costs, so the plan is still free to me. Except I'll also have $1500 stored up for future health expenses. Next year, I shouldn't have to contribute much at all, though I probably will try to build it a little each year. In the short term, it is less cash in my pocket now. But the money being set aside is mine. It offers flexibility in the long term.

Something to note, a big disadvantage of HSA's are the fees. Most plans you can find online have high fees and/or no investment options. My HSA administrator really is no better, but the company pays the fees for me. I'm not intending to use this account as a sort of IRA for health (as suggested by Jonathan on MyMoneyBlog), so investment opportunities aren't a big priority either.

Did I make the right choice? Well, it depends on if I have any major surprise medical issues this year. Let's hope it was a good choice.

2 comments:

Lauren said...

I think that PPO is the way to go. There's so much more flexibility there and you are much less likely to have an issue with being allowed to go to a certain doctor.

My hubby, a very healthy 24 year old (at the time) got really really sick last year (bad kidney stone that required 3 surgeries to fix). Our PPO ended up helping us by allowing him to go see the specialist he needed rather than going through the hoops of getting referred officially and getting the paperwork everywhere. We didn't have an HSA and it turned out to be a very expensive start of the year for us because of it. I think you got the best thing possible. I wish we had an HSA...

SJean said...

thanks for the comment lauren! There is a PPO option that doesn't come with a HSA. The reason I have an HSA is because my plan basically covers nothing until you reached a deductible of about $2000. Most PPOs pay for a lot more. (I think)

Did you have a high deductible plan?

I'm betting, a little bit, on good health. Odds are in my favor, but we'll have to see.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Health Insurance options

I signed up for health insurance benefits at my new company today. I had essentially three choices.

HMO
I've never used an HMO, and though I have heard some negative press about them, I think it would work ok for me. I don't have health issues and am a low maintenance customer. Free to me, minimal copays ($15 for my monthly prescription). I don't think I would mind being forced to deal with a Primary Care Physician.

Traditional PPO account
This cost about $16 per a bi weekly pay period, so just $416 year for premiums. Same copays as the HMO. You can see any in-network doctor and have a lot more freedom in your medical care. You can see out of network doctors for reduced benefits.

PPO + Health Savings Account (HSA)
This is free to me, but is a high deductible plan. Preventative care is covered 100%, but everything else is out of pocket up to the deductible, then benefits kick in. With this plan, I am eligible for a HSA to put pre-tax dollars in to spend on medical care, which carry over year to year. My company will contribute $700 to this account. I believe the yearly deductible is about $1500, but I can't quite recall.

I used a HSA at my last job (which had worse benefit options) so I'm already comfortable with them. I felt doubts about my HSA at the end of last year, because almost all the money I put in I took back out to buy my prescriptions with. My company didn't contribute. However, regular insurance was still 60/mo, so I came out... Well, I think I came out a little behind using the Health savings Account at my last job. But you live, you learn. I pretty much immediately ruled out the traditional PPO, because it seemed so similar to the HMO, except you could see more doctors and you had to pay money for it. I didn't need the freedom. The HMO seemed like a really cheap option, so I considered it.

I was left to debate the HMO and the PPO+HSA. Barring catastrophe, I need very little medical care. I see the doctor once a year for a women's health check-up, and use birth control each month, which does cost $45 without coverage. Last year I got an eye infection and was fixed up for about $100. I exercise, but I don't play any physical sports. Or any sports, really.

So, I went with the HSA, and chose to contribute $1500 of my own money to it. At first glance, that seems like the most expensive choice. My company contribution will cover my prescription costs, and probably nearly all other costs, so the plan is still free to me. Except I'll also have $1500 stored up for future health expenses. Next year, I shouldn't have to contribute much at all, though I probably will try to build it a little each year. In the short term, it is less cash in my pocket now. But the money being set aside is mine. It offers flexibility in the long term.

Something to note, a big disadvantage of HSA's are the fees. Most plans you can find online have high fees and/or no investment options. My HSA administrator really is no better, but the company pays the fees for me. I'm not intending to use this account as a sort of IRA for health (as suggested by Jonathan on MyMoneyBlog), so investment opportunities aren't a big priority either.

Did I make the right choice? Well, it depends on if I have any major surprise medical issues this year. Let's hope it was a good choice.

2 comments:

Lauren said...

I think that PPO is the way to go. There's so much more flexibility there and you are much less likely to have an issue with being allowed to go to a certain doctor.

My hubby, a very healthy 24 year old (at the time) got really really sick last year (bad kidney stone that required 3 surgeries to fix). Our PPO ended up helping us by allowing him to go see the specialist he needed rather than going through the hoops of getting referred officially and getting the paperwork everywhere. We didn't have an HSA and it turned out to be a very expensive start of the year for us because of it. I think you got the best thing possible. I wish we had an HSA...


SJean said...

thanks for the comment lauren! There is a PPO option that doesn't come with a HSA. The reason I have an HSA is because my plan basically covers nothing until you reached a deductible of about $2000. Most PPOs pay for a lot more. (I think)

Did you have a high deductible plan?

I'm betting, a little bit, on good health. Odds are in my favor, but we'll have to see.