The open enrollment period for my company’s 2010 benefits came to a close yesterday. My procrastination came to an end when I logged into our benefits management website, reviewed the options one last time, and decided to stick with the same plan I’ve had since I joined the company, an HMO plan offered by Aetna and a dental PPO plan offered by the same provider.
Overall, including my other benefits such as long term disability, the cost of the deductions to my paycheck will increase 10% in 2010 over the cost in 2009. Part of this is due to a change in my company’s subsidy formula. In 2009, the company has been paying for a certain percentage of the total cost of my benefits on my behalf, but next year, the percentage is decreasing.
This is a big increase when considering the Consumer Price Index looks like it’s heading towards a rate of 3.4% this year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This increase is the latest in a line of similar increases over the past several years. The price increases spurred me to consider High Deductible Health Plans and Consumer-Directed Health Plans this year, but after reading through the details, I decided the HMO continues to be the best option for me.
Even my 10% increase is overshadowed by the increases other people are seeing. Without dependents, some might say I have it easy. I can afford the increase. Well, I can afford it right now, but there is always the threat of that ability disappearing in the future. Consumers do not normally agree to pay an increasing amount each year for a service that stays the same, or in some cases, for a service that decreases.
I’ve also recently begun pricing how much I would pay for similar health benefits as a self-employed individual. To have a plan that is even remotely similar to the benefits I have now, I would be paying about twelve times my current premium. The more reasonably priced health insurance plans offer incredibly low benefits and high deductibles. I may have more affordable options by qualifying as a small business rather than self-employed, but that is going to require more research.
What is your annual enrollment story? Are your costs going up?
Photo credit: ZaldyImg
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published November 25, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.