A new year always brings new decisions about your family’s future. One of those decisions is your health care coverage offered by your employer. With the onset of rising health care costs, employers are beginning to mix up the available plans offered to accommodate individuals in all types of situations. Yahoo Finance wrote a great article about what to watch out for with new health care coverage plans. Picking the right health care plan can be a daunting task. Here are some of the things listed in the article that you should look out for when thinking about switching plans or when your employer switches plans for you.
— Fully funding preventive care benefits such as immunizations, flu shot clinics and age-appropriate cancer screenings.
— Offering plans with lower contribution requirements and fewer covered benefits to encourage lower-wage workers to stay insured.
— Promoting nurse advice lines, health coaching and disease management programs.
— Offering “consumer-driven” health plans that typically have high deductibles and encourage workers to be more price-sensitive.
My company switched us to a “consumer-driven” health plan for 2007. I am required to pay half of my $3,000 yearly deductible, and then my coverage kicks in 100%. My company helps fund half of my deductible, and they roll over the amount that I don’t use to the next year. So, it’s kind of like an HSA account, but I don’t fund it. My company contributes to it every year. I would not have chosen this plan if I had the choice. I would have stuck with a PPO, because my financial situation benefits me to pay a higher premium and a lower deductible. It would be tough for me to front $1,500 if something catastrophic occurred. However, some people can afford a higher deductible in order to save on the premium. This is a great quote from the article.
“You should only pay to insure the risk you can’t bear,” he said. “If you’re paying for risk you can bear, I would suggest you’re paying for something you don’t need.”
This is a wise statement. You will always save money on insurance if you apply this saying when you buy an insurance product. Don’t get a higher deductible, if it’s going to put a huge financial strain on you. But in the same respect, don’t have a couple hundred thousand dollars sitting in the bank and continue to pay the highest premium possible. It just doesn’t make sense. Insurance is meant to cover the financial risk that you cannot bear.
Read the whole article. It’s got some great advice in there about choosing your health care program and also identifying the hidden aspects of new programs that employers force upon you.