Next year will see a first for me. My out of pocket health care premiums will not rise next year! Well, technically, we've had a couple of years where they went down, but it was because we chose a plan that had less coverage. But never before have we kept coverage the same and had costs not rise.
So this is great news.
How did it happen?
Well, I work for a health system herein Detroit. The insurance company we use is affiliated with our health system, and the plan that we have is somewhat restrictive in that we can only go to doctors that work for the health system. You can get plans where you can choose outside doctors as your in-network doctors, but they're a lot more expensive.
So, in order to encourage our employees to use our own doctors, they're keeping the costs for that plan the same, and raising the rest.
Kind of makes sense that they'd want their own employees to support their business.
It's really no different than when you work for a car company and get a discount for buying one of their automobiles.
Looking through the initial documentation, it looks like we will have some slight increases in some of the other areas of coverage, like dental and long-term insurance, but it looks like it won't be more than $5 or $6 higher across the board.
Which is unprecedented.
Two Items To Check
I just have a couple of items that I need to clarify before we sign up for our 2016 coverage.
- Looking at all of our doctors. I know that our primary doctors are in the plan. The office is in one of our nearby medical buildings. Other physicians that we use (e.g. pediatricians, OB/GYN, etc.) are not directly employed but have, through 2015, maintained the affiliation with our plan and accepted the rates and such. I just need to verify that they are going to stay in-network, and see what options might exist otherwise.
- Go to the doctor. The plan we have is a consumer driven health plan, where we pay the first $2,600 or so of our out of pocket costs, with the advantage that our employer will deposit $1,000 per year into our Health Savings Cost, making the effective out of pocket $1,600. In order to get the full $1,000, you have to complete a checkup every two years if you're healthy or every year if you're not (it's based on a score that takes account things like whether you smoke, your cholestorol and other variables). My wife and I both passed and were exempt last year, but have to re-qualify this year.
That's it. I had been a little nervous about what was coming. Health care costs are something that have caught us by surprise. History shows that you really never know from one year to the next how things will look. I was very pleasantly surprised this year!
Readers, how are your health care costs for 2016 looking?