Options evaluated and submitted.
Tis that time of year again, the dreaded open enrollment. With all the craziness of health care over the past few years, I all but hold my breath each time it comes around. We were fortunate this year not to experience any significant increase in premiums or changes in the plans Hub’s employer offers. From reading posts from other bloggers, I know we are fortunate.
For medical, we can choose from four plans. The first two I wouldn’t even consider. While they come with super low premiums, they also come with super crappy coverage. The third one comes with a $5,000 annual family deductible, but the company offsets that by putting $840 into an FSA. It does, however, cover preventative care at 100%. After the deductible is met, everything is then covered at 100%. The last option is a “Cadillac Plan” with lower copays but also comes with a much higher price tag. The max OOP for the Cadillac plan is $2,000/person and $4,000/family. Prescriptions, however, have a separate deductible under this policy. Given the premium savings, we again went with the third option. I figured it using a worse case scenario, and we still come out ahead.
In addition to keeping the same health plan, we also chose to stay with the same dental plan. Hub’s company offers two plans, and we have the better of the two. Yes, it is more expensive, but it also gives us a higher benefit, a reduced deductible, and covers many things at 100%.
What change Hubs and I decided to make was putting in $2,650 (the max allowed) into the FSA. Combined with the $840 put in by his company, this will give us $3,490 to offset any health expenses. Under this plan, we are not eligible for an HSA, or we would use that option. With an FSA being a “use it or lose it” account, we’ve previously been very conservative with how much we contribute. The past two years we have exceeded that amount of expenses, so we decided this year to go with the max allowed. Whether it be for health, dental, or vision, the FSA will be fully utilized, and we may as well benefit from the tax savings.
Another change we made was to add me to our vision plan. I had an eye exam and purchased new glasses in Nov of 2016, so I didn’t feel the need for 2017. No sense in paying for something I knew I wouldn’t be using. Providing I don’t notice any changes in my vision, I’ll wait until the end of 2018 for my exam. Our FSA will also come into play. Unless funds remain, I’ll avoid getting new specks! Thankfully, I haven’t ever had too much of a change in prescriptions when I have gone for my exams.
We also beefed up Hub’s short-term disability. After reviewing our benefits, I remembered why we didn’t opt for it this year. Hubs started with his current company in Aug 2016. For 2017, it meant that they would figure his benefit off a (very) low base. Going into 2018, his benefit will be much higher. Since short-term covers the first 26 weeks, we felt the need to increase this above what the company provides. Last year we did opt for the higher long-term benefit and have done so again for 2018.
Hub’s company does cover 100% of some benefits such as basic life insurance (for both of us), core short and long-term disability and with the chosen medical plan, contributes to our FSA. So then, how much is coming out of our check? Here is the breakdown:
Medical FSA $101.92*
Supplemental Life (Hubs) $47.77
Supplemental Life (me) $7.96
Supplemental disability $10.59
Supplemental disability $2.85
Grand Total $311.96 per bi-weekly check (* pre-tax)
Although I feel we are paying a lot out of pocket, again I realize that compared to so many others, we are fortunate. It was for this very reason that I was actually a little hesitant to share these numbers. I truly feel for those of you who see far more of your checks eaten up by the cost of benefits. I also realize that there are others who pay far less for their benefits, and that is why I put this out here. It isn’t to compare as all of our situations are different but in an effort to be more transparent about our expenses. I admire the bloggers who put it all out there (income, debt, net worth, etc.), and sharing this is one more step in the direction to do the same.
For those of you facing open enrollment, how are things looking for you for 2018?