High Deductible Health Plans: Not for Everyone

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff, Rochester Business Journal.

Kent GardnerI’m in the third month of my high deductible health plan (HDHP) experience. And we’ve had some big bills to pay—I’m thinking that we may actually reach that family deductible early in the year. No surprises, though. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (If you’d like to read my earlier series on this subject, find the link to our blog site at www.cgr.org.)

A good friend sent me a column penned by someone who feels differently. The title tells it all: “I regret enrolling in an HSA.” Author Kelley Butler is having a major case of buyer’s remorse.

Kelley Butler is the editor of Employee Benefit News and her article can be found at http://ebn.benefitnews.com/news/regret-enrolling-hsa-2670271-1.html.

Kelley liked everything about her old health plan—except the price: “I knew we couldn’t afford the premiums we’d have to pay to keep our beloved PPO.” So she signed up for the high deductible health plan with a health savings account (HSA) and “hoped for the best.”

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Making Sense of Health Savings Accounts

Posted by & filed under CGR Staff, Rochester Business Journal.

Originally published in Rochester Business Journal
1/9/2009, 1/16/2009, 1/23/2009

Kent GardnerPart One

Early signals from our health insurer led us to expect another double-digit increase in our insurance premiums—perhaps a 15% hit. Frankly, I thought that we were just being softened up for something lower—If I were led to expect 15%, then a mere 11% bump should make me (relatively) happy. I was stunned when the final price of the most popular of our plans would go up 21% in 2009.

The big increase in price led us to explore cheaper plans, particularly a policy that includes a “Health Savings Account” (HSA). The discussion below refers to the specific plans we were offered by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

CAUTION: The remainder of this column discusses insurance premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maxima and other arcane health insurance jargon. Readers looking for lighter fare might prefer IRS Publication 17 or, perhaps, a William Faulkner novel.

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