We just entered the Open Enrollment period for my wife’s work, so we have to choose what health insurance options we want for 2006. This is actually pretty good timing since I am now also eligible for health insurance for as a student at my University.
Since I left my job in July, I’ve been added onto my wife’s health plan for an additional $200 pre-tax a month, a pretty good deal. Next year, it’s only going to be $160/month. I don’t have any current health conditions, but I feel it’s very important to stay covered at all times. The insurance plan is a pretty decent PPO, especially if you stay in-network (I don’t really have any preference towards any specific doctor). In-network, the plan has a $200 annual deductible per person, and an annual out-of-pocket maximum (including the deductible) of $1,200 per person. There is a $2,000,000 lifetime maximum benefit.
My University offers health insurance at $500 a semester, or about $84 a month post-tax, since it offers continuous coverage year-long. The annual deductible is $150/year. You basically have to go the Student Health Center for everything, and then they refer you out. However, there is a lifetime maximum of $50,000 “per Covered Injury or Sickness”.
Overall, the other benefits look pretty similar – 80%/60% coverage for In/Out of network. The difference in maximum benefits concerns me. I don’t know how far $50k goes these days in a hospital, but I don’t think I want to find out. Since my wife’s plan is pre-tax, we’d be paying about $120/month post-tax vs. $84 with the school plan. I’m most likely going to stay with my wife’s plan. I just feel safer with my wife’s plan, and also it’s nice to know that way we would be staying at the same hospital if we were somehow injured together.
But, I’m still glad the University offers such an option – it’s very affordable at less than $100 per month, especially if you do have pre-existing medical conditions since it doesn’t require a physical to qualify or anything. There is a six-month waiting period if you haven’t had insurance for the past six months.
Mental note: I also wanted to look into those high-deductible HSA plans, as I am still relatively young and healthy, and could build up some money in a HSA to grow tax-free. Are these only offered by employers or independent providers too?