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Think Before You Enroll

October 11, 2010

For those of you working in big companies, or the equivalent thereof, it’s getting near to 2011 enrollment time.  I used to just let this stuff roll, and I generally didn’t use the healthcare anyway when I was younger.  Don’t talk to me about the ten years I didn’t see a dentist, let’s just say that the first dentin-removal session was what I deserved.  But now?  With ever-increasing options and ever-changing consequences, we were already awash in fun.  Now enter the healthcare doom bill.

“A lot of times people don’t understand all the changes going on around them,” said Ingrid Lindberg, customer experience officer for CIGNA, the insurance company. “Really, truly understand what your employer is offering you this year.”

Some consumers who need to be especially alert as the paperwork arrives include those who use flexible spending accounts for medical expenses; parents of uninsured adult children under age 26; parents of kids with pre-existing conditions; and anyone who plans to get preventive care in the coming year.

So make sure to read through all that fun paperwork, because it literally might be your well-being that’s at stake.  Just a couple winners from the article:

…starting in 2011, the (HSA/MSA savings) accounts will no longer pay for over-the-counter medicines unless a doctor writes a prescription for it. By 2013, contributions will be limited to $2,500. (me: ouch, this was a killer way to fund healthcare for a while, Nick Gillespie at Reason has a good take here)…

…significant changes to plans include a ban on lifetime limits on insurance policies, something that will be an enormous help in cases where someone requires expensive, ongoing treatment…

…Most insurance plans also will have to pay for preventive services such as immunizations, mammograms and colonoscopies, without charging consumers deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance fees…

Oh, and did they mention that most plans will probably increase in terms of actual cost to the employers?  I’ve even heard that Microsoft is going to start charging employees in the US for health coverage, a huge change for them.  On average, the cost will go up a couple percent (says the DDN article), but you should expect big jumps in certain plans.

Hey, change always happens, but I’d expect that we’ve hit a “new normal” in the way things are done.  When it comes to healthcare, as well as other major corporate benefits, I’d suspect that you’ll need to be brushing up on your technical reading skills for the next few years.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2010 7:16 pm

    Well, since extortion is illegal insurance, your definition is spot on.

  2. October 11, 2010 5:10 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, most insurance is just legalized extortion. I don’t care how carefully you read the fine print,there is always some kind of codicil the insurance company sneaks in to either lessen their responsibility, or to down right get out of paying the claim.

    I remember when I worked for companies who provided health insurance. I paid for half my premiums and 100% of my family’s. After the deductible, they paid 80%, supposedly. But, it seemed like my premiums would go up 15 or 20% every six months or so. Even though My family didn’t even use up the deductible in a given year.

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