Sam’s company recently switched up their health insurance offerings. Previously, we’ve stuck with the same plan or something similar for the last 5+ years. It was pretty straightforward, easy to understand. I was never happy with the insurance company itself, though. They seemed to reject claims on a regular basis without cause, you’d call them up and then they’d “realize their mistake” and pay for the claim. For the number of times this happened, I really became suspicious that they were just hoping you’d give up and pay the claim yourself rather than following up with them every single time. Sometimes it became tempting to do so, but I just couldn’t on principle – figuring that’s probably exactly what they wanted.
In any case, that plan is not even being offered anymore. The two choices we were given were another plan similar to what we had – but with a higher premium (and a smaller selection of doctors to chose from!) or one of these “Health Savings Account” (HSA). My first instinct was to turn down the HSA. I just couldn’t imagine how that could ever be better than the standard plan we were used to going with. But his company gave two key incentives: they gave you a credit in the HSA and the premium was quite a bit cheaper than the other plan. As well, the selection of doctors from the HSA was much wider.
So I figured, the best thing to do would be to run the numbers. First we calculated out how much it would cost if we went to the doctor’s 10x a year and then 20x a year. And in both cases the HSA was less expensive. So then I downloaded our actual claims for the past year. Figuring that we would probably be about the same. Meticulously combed through each claim and sorted them for how we would have been charged if we had been under each of the new plans. Again, the HSA ended up being cheaper. In truth – the difference between the two almost always equaled the delta of lower premium and that HSA credit the company gives. If it wasn’t for that – the two plans would have been almost neck in neck.
But it’s crazy how confusing this all is. I wonder how many people spend that many days agonizing over the decision, and then actually creating a spreadsheet of claims from the previous year – recalculating the charge on each one based on what would be charged under the new plans just to see what the difference would have been.
I really hate how difficult that needs to be, and even more than that, I hate that in this country employers are the ones that decide on the fate of your health care. I doubt his company has our family’s health interest in mind when they make these decisions. They’re going to do what makes the most business sense. It doesn’t belong in their hands.