Choosing an insurance plan

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    I've just become eligible for insurance with my company, and found a benefits packet on my desk, first day back from vacation. I suspect there is a camera around here and someone is watching me flip back and forth through it all, cackling like a mad witch.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the differences between employer provided health care plans are facades? like someone with nothing better to do, took one plan and xeroxed it, then started moving numbers on one copy around in a zero sum game to make them look different and convince you that you could save money by choosing one or the other? And then sit back and laugh at you while you pull your hair out trying to predict the future and figure out which plan you "think" will suit your "needs" better?

    I'm going to find that camera, and when I do, someone is going to see a little more than they bargained for.
     
    #12 likes this.
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,278
    6,791
    I have never spent less than a week trying to properly sort through insurance offerings. It looks like a shell game, but you can't find the pea because the insurance companies are not taking your money and sharing the risk among the subscribers. They are taking your money and sharing the risk among the Wall Street investors.
     
    strantor likes this.
  3. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,026
    3,790
    Insurance is not really the same as it was 30 years ago where you buy it in hopes of not getting sick and, if you do, the premiums paid by other members cover the cost of the treatment/procedure you needed today.

    Now, almost everyone in the plan is getting some type of procedure or on some type of medication all the time. Insurance has become a volume buying agreement between insurance companies and healthcare providers. All insurance plans are essentially the same. There are a handful of reasons employers offers more than one plan. The main reason they have two or more is so the company doesn't have to get involved with problems between insurance company and employee. Instead, they can simply use the phrase, "open enrollment is coming soon, just change providers".

    My company offers three levels of coverage from two different providers. The plans for any given level of coverage are EXACTLY the same in the comparison tables. They offer a simple flow chart to pick the one best for you (daily medication, frequency of illness, ...).

    The best plan is to wash your hands frequently, don't touch your eyes or nose, cross your fingers and don't not get sick.
     
  4. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    700
    223
    One company I worked for, went through 3-4 different plans in one year. Each time, we had to read the policies and decide what package we wanted. PITA!:rolleyes:
     
  5. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    700
    223
    Another thing about the life insurance:


    Life insurance=Death insurance.;)
     
  6. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    3,869
    1,393

    In a sense, it is a zero sum game for the insurance company. They analyze the data and formulate the options to ensure that no matter which one you pick, their "risk" remains essentially the same. Your choice can result in better benefits IF you can accurately predict the future based on personal history, family history, or astrology.
     
  7. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    Anybody here using one of the Health Savings Accounts? How does that work out for you? You like it? I'm a little miffed by the idea that if you don't use the money by end of the year, it disappears. Seems wrong to me, and that makes me opposed to it at face value, but I'm still open to input.
     
  8. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,026
    3,790
    I use one. I only put in what I know I am going to use that will not be covered by insurance. Like eye glasses, eye exams and orthodontics and dentistry. I have not had any voluntary procedures not covered by health insurance but that about covers what you can claim these days.

    My wife usually gets a feel for how much each kid's eyeglasses are and she puts about 75% into that savings plan.

    Our plan lets us spend until March of the following year (15 months). Money that is in first, goes out first so you can plan nexts year's savings contribution based on how much is left from this current year.

    We generally put about 100 to 250 per person. Our plan has a minium of $500 so some years we have put nothing if we all have new glasses and do not expect a decayed tooth.
     
    strantor likes this.
  9. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,026
    3,790
    Also...
    Co-pays for office visits and all deductibles can be paid with the flexible spending account.

    Special Note: there are two types of account employers are offering and allowed by the IRS.

    1). Discussed above is the "flexible spending account" with a "use it or lose it" rule.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexible_spending_account
    Various flexible spending accounts exist - health care, dependent care (parent in nursing home), and there may be one for your own nursing home care and child day care but my company doesn't offer these.

    2). A Healthcare Savings Account where saved dollars roll over each year. This is normally offered if a high-deductible insurance plan is offered.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_savings_account

    ----
    I only wanted to clarify the two options because you used the phrase "health saving account" when, I think, you meant "flexible health spending account" - since you mentioned the "use it by the end of the year" aspect.

    In case there was a no confusion before, a guess there probable is now. I hope not.
     
    strantor likes this.
  10. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    I think I am going to go with the PPO, even though it is going to be more expensive, especially considering my wife is going to have a baby this year and we WILL meet the deductible. Reason being, my wife and I will be more likely to actually take advantage of medical services if all we have to pay is a small co-pay. I realize that with the HSA, it would take away some of the sticker shock for the $150 doctor's visit for a scrape or runny nose, but I really don't want to play the "use it or lose it" game.
     
  11. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,026
    3,790
    That is what you do for the first kid. When your second one comes along with a scraped knee, you just start telling them to "rub some dirt on it and keep playing."
     
  12. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    4,302
    1,988
    I'm working on my third. For the first two, we didn't have any insurance at all most of the time, so going in for a runny noses and booboos wasn't an option. Going in for broken bones or missing fingers wasn't really an option either, which is pretty damn stressful. One of the most oft repeated things in our house has been " DON'T DO THAT! YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL! WE CAN'T AFFORD TO FIX YOUR SISTER IF YOU BREAK HER!" It will be nice to let our kids be kids for a change; let them jump on trampolines and ride bikes without the threat of indentured servitude hanging over our heads in the event they get hurt.
     
    GopherT likes this.
  13. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
    6,026
    3,790
    It sounds like those papers on your desk yesterday will really change your lives. It is nice to hear about the improvement and, at the same time, sad to hear how many people live such stressful lives without insurance.
     
    strantor likes this.
Loading...