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Premium Member
2014 328i xDrive Wagon 8 spd Auto
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Discussion Starter #1
I missed getting in on the now closed thread about the Health Care Bill, and I don't want this to a)annoy the nice lady, or b) get all political, since this has nothing to do with politics.

But for all those who think they have nice, safe, employer paid insurance plans, I invite you to take a look at the future.

This from Business Week.

Health Care: GE Gets Radical - BusinessWeek

For single person coverage, with the better of the three options, the annual premiums are now up at least 20%. I needed a couple of pricey tests done and asked them to be scheduled for the end of this year, even though it meant getting them done on my vacation.

I invite people to please read the comments, some are on the frustrated side, but most are dead on.

Oh, and the part where they mention "free preventative care" that's great if everything comes out fine, but if they find anything during said free care, hope you've got the money socked away to pay for it out of pocket.

If anyone thinks the rest of "big business" isn't watching this plan unfold, I think you're wrong.
 

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Premium Member
12 Premium 5-speed
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4,733 Posts
As one who chose a high-deductible plan on purpose, I know it can be a positive so long as the employee gets to share some of the savings that the company sees from going with a plan that has lower premiums. If GE simply keeps the premium savings and doesn't help to fund an HSA or increase the employee wage, then it's a step backward for the employees as far as their personal cost goes. Ditto if GE simply chose a crappy plan from the get-go.

This is an important aspect of high-deductible plans:

The total cost of care will depend, of course, on the individual. Consumer-driven plans can save money for healthy workers who rarely visit a doctor or shop around. Typically, employees have lower premiums and save pretax dollars in health-savings accounts to pay much higher deductibles...
In a healthy year, a person on a high-deductible plan can save a lot of money since the premiums are typically much lower than a lower-deductible policy. The premium savings should be put into an HSA, which is deposited pre-tax. So you save on your premiums and you essentially get a discount on your medical expenses to the tune of whatever tax bracket you're in. And if you don't spend much money on visits then your overall costs are down instead of having a high annual fixed cost from the premiums of a low-deductible plan.

The article is a bit thin on the specifics of GEs offerings and contributions, but if done right both the employer and employee can come out ahead. Now it may very well be that GE did a poor job with their particular plan and options, but people should be aware of the high-deductible policy as a good way to get catastrophic coverage (the stuff that supposedly bankrupts households) without a high monthly premium.
 

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2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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As one who chose a high-deductible plan on purpose.....
I did, I have a left over HSA from a previous employer I thought I should put to use. With what my current employer contributes combined with my previous HSA, it gives me two years worth of MAX out of pocket expenses in my HSA. It was a no brainer in my case.
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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It really can be a great deal if one chooses a good plan and has the discipline to set aside the premium savings for deposit into an HSA. I just don't want people to get all panicky when they encounter the term "high-deductible policy". It can be a very good thing for many people, so long as they do their homework and know what it is they're buying.
 

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2001 Forester Slushbox
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1,784 Posts
I have great employer provided health insurance where I work.
My weekly premium is $10.99 for me and my wife.
Had surgery to remove a mass on my vocal cords,one Doctor visit,one Specialist visit and the surgery cost me less than $100 out of pocket.

So afraid this is going to get screwed up by this "health care reform bill" fiasco.
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport
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Hopefully they don't cap these pre-tax contributions to $2,500 as they have been batting about to fund the 'reform.' This will hurt not only HSA accounts, but also FSA accounts.
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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2,830 Posts
I'm thinking about just going on welfare. Why work anymore?

jk. But I feel that way sometimes.

Just wait. If you have individual retirement savings in a 401K or similar plan, the federal gov't may decide to go after those, too. You see it *just so happens* that the total amount of US private retirement account wealth is around 14 trillion and the national debt is around... 14 trillion.... anyone see a big ripe cherry dangling for the federal gov't to try to pick? It will be done under the guise of you signing over your 401K in exchange for a "guaranteed benefit" or "defined Benefit" plan administered by... the gov't. In other words, you'll give them your lump sum on the promise that they'll dole it out to you much later on. No thanks, they've not proven themselves to be very efficient at managing money.
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport
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After reading the article further, I would bet that GE is/was a self-funded employer. (self funding 101 Kempton Group)

They could easily save MORE than the 1 billion in a decade depending on their employee makeup. It has been proven that employees with low co-pays and deductibles, often over-utilize services. "Oh I have a sinus infection? I'm not making an appointment, I'm going to urgent care." (the military free/low cost care embodies this to the nth degree)
By offering catastrophic coverage, the employee takes on the risk for some of their own health, but they are still covered for extreme illness that would bankrupt them. It is amazing how differently people behave in regards to their own health when their own money is on the line (oh and dinging smokers and not the obese is doing them a disservice since the illness rate for obesity is almost double that of an average smoker, including diabetes, eye illness, joint replacements, back surgeries, heart problems, etc).
 

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Premium Member
2014 328i xDrive Wagon 8 spd Auto
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Discussion Starter #9
My premiums went up > 20%, and 0 of the savings will be passed back to the employee, but internal estimates indicate it will save the company over 1 Billion dollars over 10 years. With GE there's no such thing as "We don't know what the savings will be." Also the company they chose to administer the plan in my area, Aetna, is not well received by some of the medical community.

And working on the divide and conquer plan, this is the first time the union and exempt workforce have been thrown into separate plans. The union workers get to keep the better plan. For now. Contract talks in 2011 promise to be "interesting".

FSA's aren't capped, but you use it or lose it yearly. The HSA's can be carried year to year but if you leave the company the money returns to the company (sweet deal that), and there is a third type I think called HRA's that you can carry with you from job to job, but there was some disadvantage associated with that was well.

It was especially nice of them to cap the premiums so that the highest paid people (> 150k salary) don't shoulder an unfair burden.

Anyone that can, is transitioning to their spouse's plans, which I expect to do next year as well. In the mean time, I am expecting my out of pocket costs on therapy for a bad back, the maintenance meds I'm on, and the higher deductibles to add at least 3k to my out of pocket expenses. That's assuming I don't actually get sick during the year.
 

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The HSA's can be carried year to year but if you leave the company the money returns to the company (sweet deal that),
.

I don't believe this is the case. When my company was bought out we were able "roll over" the HSA to the new company's HSA. Also should be able to keep the money in the original company's plan if you leave the company (but of course you and the company can no longer contribute).

I believe mine was called an HSA and not an HRA? but not sure??
 

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Premium Member
2014 328i xDrive Wagon 8 spd Auto
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Discussion Starter #12
I don't believe this is the case. When my company was bought out we were able "roll over" the HSA to the new company's HSA. Also should be able to keep the money in the original company's plan if you leave the company (but of course you and the company can no longer contribute).

I believe mine was called an HSA and not an HRA? but not sure??
There are for sure three types with our plan. FSA, use it or lose it, HSA and I think it is HRA, I'll check next time I see the literature. In any event I'm absolutely sure that with one of those, you can put in all you want, but if you leave, the money reverts to the company. The other one follows you.
 

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the other thread got canned????? :evilatyou: *falls over laughing*
Some people are VERY passionate about their political opinions, especially with anonymity.

What I'm seriously worried about is my future; I plan to become a pharmacist, before that a pharmacy technician (finishing pharmacology I this coming spring). =\ I've read some bad things about what it's going to do to health care workers that I'm not satisfied with. :chair:
 

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12 Premium 5-speed
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Well, we'll always need medication and those smart enough to tell us how to use them properly. :icon_biggrin:

We won't truly know what's going to happen until the two differing bills get reconciled and turned into a single bill that both the House and Senate vote on, pass, and send to the President for his signature. This may actually take quite a while depending on the number of changes required and on which side the House votes are dropping. Or it could go quickly if the House leadership decides to lose some votes in order to keep the Senate version mostly intact so Senate votes aren't lost.
 

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2007 Forester XT Sport
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A Health Savings Account (HSA) is YOUR money. It is in a bank account with your name on it, you control it entirely. An employer can give you money to put in it, but it is not their money. You are supposed to use it for health expenditures only, but it falls on you to keep track of your expenses in case you are audited. The money rolls from year to year.

A Flexible Spending Account is held by the administrator of your plan. They reimburse you for health related expenditures and it is "use or lose".

Health Reimbursement Accounts are employer funded. The money is the employers, but is used to reimburse the employee for health related expenses. If you leave you job, the employer keeps the money. The money DOES roll from year to year.
 

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Astute observation, they are indeed.
Almost all very large employers are. Actually more than 52% of American businesses are self-funded. So more than half are doing a not-for-profit health plan. Hopefully the stuff coming down the pipes doesn't adversely ding those employers.
 

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Resident Ninja
2011 2.5X Premium Auto
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That GE piece was a very interested article. I work for Carlson Companies and they have also started to stray away from the typical health care plan, they have offered several options for next year all of which raise the price of care. Kind of sucks, but at least they are still contributing.
 
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