Happy New Year! If you have health insurance through your employer, by now it’s kicked in. We stayed with the same plan as last year. Our family used a HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) with an HSA (Health Savings Account). My employer raised the cost to any employee using any plan. I did the math to make sure the HDHP was our best option. It is. Still, our costs are definitely going up, which is a bummer.
HDHP Costs Getting More Expensive
Here are five ways that our costs are (or could) go up this year.
Higher Payroll Contributions
The plan I chose requires a $93 per paycheck deduction to be enrolled. Our deductible is $2,550, meaning that we pay that amount before any coverage kicks in. This excludes preventative checkups, which are (mostly) fully covered.
Last year our contributions were $73 per paycheck, so we are paying over $500 more just to participate in the plan.
The deductible I mentioned above has increased over the years. It didn’t go up this year, but last year it went up $100. This hasn’t impacted us, as we’ve never spent the deductible amount. But, for those who do, this is a cost increase. If we did have more medical expenses this year, it would be a higher cost for us.
Higher Out Of Pocket Maximum
Once you reach the deductible amount, you pay co-pays until you reach the plan’s stated out-of-pocket maximum. After this, then all co-pays and such are waived. This maximum amount is around $6,700. It used to be $6,500. Again, as time has gone on, anyone having to significantly use their plan could see a bigger cost to them.
I have had borderline high cholesterol for many years. As such, the doctor always insists on a blood panel when I have my annual checkup. Annual checkups are not subject to the deductible. That’s because they want to make sure people actually go. But, my blood tests were always covered. Until this past year. They are no longer part of the preventative checkup bundle. So I had to pay the full amount (around $37) out of pocket.
Potentially Reduced Match
Our company kicks in a bit to the Health Savings Account for those on the HDHP plan. I’ve always received $1,000, but this year there was a catch. Employees and their spouses had to complete a series of tasks. These included getting the annual checkup, tracking exercise, etc. If you failed to meet all the requirements, they cut the contribution by 50%. My wife and I were both able to complete this, but if we hadn’t have been able to or had some sort of hardship, we would have lost out on $500.
Increased Costs Take The Shine Off Of Raises
It was interesting timing when our company announced a 2% raise for employees. That was announced just a couple of weeks before insurance information was published. For many, a good chunk or all of the ‘raise’ was wiped out due to the higher costs. People were not happy about this. Some speculated that they wanted to make sure that it was, at the very least, a wash for employees.
Still, the economy is pretty good, so people were disappointed that the raise was, in effect, cut. They did promise that another raise will be announced in the spring. People are pretty interested to see what happens then.
How is insurance affecting your bottom line?
I’m curious, readers, how insurance is affecting your bottom line for 2019. Are you paying more this year than last? How is it affecting your finances? Do you use an HDHP or another type of plan? Please let me know in the comments below.