Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The other day I posted about it making the most sense for young healthy people, under Obamacare, to choose the lowest premium plan possible, tied to a health savings account, looking strictly at the numbers involved, and not worrying about what plan had what coverage, and also asked how that might effect the stability of the insurance system in general.
I've since looked at the follow up information that BlueCross-BlueShield sent me regarding my plan options moving forward, so I figured I'd make the comparsion to my current plan.
My current plan is called Blue Edge HSA 100%. Under this plan, I am given access to either BCBS's PPO network of doctors, or their BlueChoice network of doctors. My individual deductible on this plan is $1,750, and my coinsurance is 100%, meaning I pay nothing after my deductible. For this plan, my monthly premium has been $246.08. This amount includes dental coverage that I tacked on, which if I remember correctly, is about $25/month of this amount. So if we're comparing health insurance to health insurance, my premium just for health insurance is roughly $221/month. This has been an individual insurance plan, and so I will compare this to the individual rates of the new plans being offered. Rates in my article from the other day were quoted for both myself and my wife, and so differ from the rates in this post.
My current plan has been cancelled, and BCBS has sent me a letter indicating that the most similar plan to my current plan is the new Blue PPO Gold 001 plan. This plan runs $376.40/month, and has a deductible of $3,250. So for the most similar plan, the monthly premium has increased roughly 170%, and the deductible has also nearly doubled. I am also limited to only the PPO network. Even better news, this plan is also not eligible to be used with an HSA. Here is what this plan offers:
I am also told that Blue PPO Bronze 005 is the most similar in price to what I have today. This plan is $239.43/month, so they've managed to offer a plan at a similar price. This plan has a $5,000 deductible, and a coinsurance of 80%, with an out of pocket max of $6,250. This means that even after I've paid $5,000 in deductibles, I'm still paying 20% of the bills until I've hit $6,250. This plan does qualify for use with an HSA, and here is what this plan offers, compared side-by-side with the plan above, so we can see how much worse it is on the surface.
There's really not a lot to like about that picture, since what it's really saying is that I might more or less count on coming out of pocket to the tune of $6,250 just about no matter what, because of the 80% coinsurance. Basically with this policy I'd be cutting checks to BCBS to the tune of $2,873.16 a year for the right to have them tell me I'm paying for everything myself until I've spent $5,000, and then I'm also still paying 20% until I've shelled out another $1,250. At least I get to have an HSA with this one. Yay!
Bottom line is, for me, that I'm either paying almost double in premiums, with almost double the deductible, to get similar coverage to what I already have, but can't use an HSA, or I can buy much, much worse coverage for a similar price.
Given the fact that they have another plan called Blue Choice Bronze PPO 006, that turns that litany of 80% coverage into 100% coverages, with a $6,000 deductible and $6,000 out of pocket max, and for only $160.09/month, also HSA eligible, I'm not sure why anyone would bother with something like the Blue PPO 005 above. At least not a young, healthy person in a big city like me anyway. If my doctor isn't in the Blue Choice network, I can find one that is.
This obviously becomes much more problematic where people live more spread out. If someone is stuck with the Blue PPO network of doctors, they're stuck with something like that awful Blue PPO 005, or else instead, for some terrible reason, double the premiums.