Thursday, March 31, 2011

Health Insurance fun

Early this year we received notice that our health insurance premium was increasing. This was expected. However, seeing as it crept up over $600 per month we decided it was time to do something about it.

And we found out that things were pretty screwed up.

First we went in to see about raising our deductible. This helped lower our monthly premiums. While we were looking at that, our advisor discovered that I still had a write-up on my file from several years ago when I was having panic attacks. I told him this hasn’t been an issue for the past several years. Since I started taking medication things have settled down quite nicely. He didn’t think the write-up was for the medication, but rather for the counseling I was receiving at the time. He recommended I write a letter explaining the current situation and he would try to get the write-up removed. After I did that and they reviewed my account, they removed the write-up. Oh, the write-up added an extra 25% to my premium.

We both are on the same health plan. Neither of us have direct health benefits. When I was hired, they bumped up my salary to cover some insurance, and Kathy’s boss would write a check every month to cover half of her health insurance. While we were looking at numbers, we discovered that the reimbursement amount had not changed in the past three years, even though our premium had increased each year. When Kathy talked to her awesome boss about increasing the amount he reimburses, he decided he wanted to go ahead and cover 100% of her insurance!

So we took three steps to lower our premium: increase deductible, remove write-up, and change Kathy’s work benefit. Let me tell you it was a success. Instead of increasing our monthly health insurance premium by 15% this year, we actually lowered it by 15%--for a quarterly payment! That's 60% less per month! Excellent news since I started taking classes and money will probably be tight.

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