Our Health Care Story
In years past, employers provided a benefits package. In most cases, that included health insurance. Even 10-15 years ago, this was the common story. When I started my first full time job out of college, the church that I worked at offered an unusually generous 100% health care plan at an extremely affordable rate. My husband and I knew that good benefits were becoming rare. His health benefits were much more expensive for less coverage. So, I carried our health insurance for years.
The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that the majority (90 percent) of workers are “auto-enrolling” or keeping the same benefits year after year.
When open enrollment came around each year, we didn't make changes. We thought we had a good plan and we kept it even as prices rose. We knew the plan with my employer was better than Josh's employer, but we never considered other options.
Health Care Costs Up, Coverage Down
The 2014 Aflac Open Enrollment Survey found that 41 percent of employees spent 15 minutes or less researching their benefit options during the 2013 open enrollment season; and nearly a quarter (24 percent) spent five minutes or less.
Fast forward a few years. Insurance rates have skyrocketed and coverage has sunk to incredible lows. Have you read your policy recently? Do you take advantage of sessions with your employer to consider your options during open enrollment? Have you considered non-traditional health care options? A little bit of time researching and comparing your options could save you lots of money! The average person spends more time researching a car, vacation, or electronics purchase than they do researching health care options.*
Last year at open enrollment, Josh and I were facing another large increase in monthly premiums on our high deductible health care plan. Our monthly premium was almost 1.5 times as much as our mortgage! We had to look at our options, with Josh's employer and other alternative and creative ways to meet the Affordable Care Act requirements.
We're relatively health with no major pre-existing condition. When we researched our option, we found a route that saved us almost $600 a month. That's a savings of $7,000 a year on health care! In addition, we were able to lower our out of pocket responsibility from $4,000 to $1,500.
If we had researched and made changes to our policy earlier, we could started saving money earlier and our out of pocket costs from baby #3 would have been about $3,500 less.
Aflac WorkForces Report
Share with us: Do you research your health care options during open enrollment each year? Do you have a story of a costly mistake from not knowing and researching your benefits?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
*According to statistics from Zillow Mortgage Marketplace Survey, accessed August 6, 2014.
Medical images credit: © Depositphotos.com/yupiramos