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It's that time of year: open enrollment

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Cadet, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    That's right, boys and girls, it's Open Enrollment season! Time to deal with HR people, read through pages of crap that doesn't actually address your questions and watch stupid videos of smiling people holding apples and talking about what YOU can do to lower healthcare costs.

    My shop is making a lot of changes this year, and none of the choices seem to be very good. I've never seen a health insurance plan that pays for less.

    So who has had experience with high-deductible plans? Anyone had a flex spending account or a health savings account? Pros to a certain plan? Cons?

    And I've always wondered why company employees pay the same amount, no matter what they make. I work in the newsroom, making peanuts, and they take out $50 a paycheck. The publisher, making six figures, also gets $50 taken out of his paycheck. Why is it not a sliding scale of premium based on income? Or would that make too much sense?

    And DO NOT turn this into a political thread. Yes, the Republicans have fucked up health care, but let's debate that elsewhere and leave this thread for discussion of what our actual choices are. I'm sure there are a lot of recent college grads who could use the education.
  2. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    I usually put $1,000 or at least $500 each year in a flex account. Between trips to the dentist, visits to the eye doctors, other co-pays, etc., that's almost necessary nowadays. One shop even used debit cards so you didn't have to file all this ridiculous reimbursement paperwork for flex expenses.
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Wicked, do you have one of the "use it or lose it" accounts? If so, how do you use it up by the end of the year?
  4. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    I signed up for a flex account once. They wouldn't reimburse me for my pill, so that was the end of that. I don't have that many expenses (no glasses, no cavities, etc), so I don't.

    Our insurance is changing because the paper's dropping the old Knight Ridder plan and picking up McClatchy's. Not sure what's up with it yet.
  5. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Cadet, I've got one of those accounts, and it has worked out OK. Mine has a debit card with it that works OK, although they sometimes don't recognize that something was actually medically-related, so you need to fax a receipt. (yeah, like I could buy DVDs from a mail order pharmacy--asshats!). It does save money because it's pre-tax. You just need to make sure you use it all (or you forfeit it to the company), so have it put aside a little less than you think you'll need.
  6. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    You get a certain period of time to use it all. For example, the 2008 flex account, you'd get until some point in March 2009 to use it all. (It's based on federal regulations, for the most part.) For me, between visits to the doctor, paying a couple hundred for glasses/contacts, medications, etc., it pays off.
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Anyone else, like SC, get surprised over something that isn't covered by flex account dollars?
  8. wickedwritah

    wickedwritah Guest

    Just make sure you read, read, read what will be covered before starting one of those accounts.
  9. BigSleeper

    BigSleeper Active Member

    I reviewed McClatchy's new plan and was relieved it won't cost me much more. Decreases in costs for Dental and Vision offsets the slight increase for Medical.
  10. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    And OTD, who is it that manages and "approves" your flex account spending? Is it the insurance company (i.e. BCBS) or is the the fund manager (i.e. investment house)? And how do you prove to them the purchase was medical?
  11. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Woo hoo!

    I think the big thing for me is gonna be that there's a deductible instead of a copay for the similar level plan. If that's the case, I may go ahead and do the flex account with enough to cover my deductible.
  12. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    At the Newhouse paper I'm at, there are two choices of health plans, sort of. With one plan, its an HRA (the company contributes money tax-free to your health reimbursement account, that you can use for whatever medical - not dental - expenses you want), but you've got a high deductable before the insurance itself will kick in for any coverage. The other plan is a more traditional HMO.
    With the first plan, the company covers 100 percent of your premium and the employees pay zero. With the second plan, the employee has to pay whatever the difference in cost to the company is between the two plans (which could be several thousand dollars), plus other "pass along" costs involved in the difference between the plans.
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