Thursday, January 31, 2013

Health Insurance Changes - $$ Savings!

Photo credit: forwardcom
For the last 12 years, my employer has been providing health insurance to my family.  As the job (and employer) changed and our family grew, these costs steadily grew.  But it's health insurance and we needed to have it, so it continued to be withdrawn from my check at a steady rate.  It's just one of those things you assume will always be.

Well, starting last week, Chip went on full time duty orders with his National Guard unit and will be for about 18 months at least (hopefully more after that).  So we bit the bullet and signed up for Tri-Care, the military's health insurance program.  There are various details that go with it, but basically, we dropped all of the medical insurance that I carried at work and kept the vision and dental insurance from my employer (better coverage and quite cheap).

There is no premium cost for Tri-Care.  For Chip the program is completely free - he just has to use doctors on base.  No co-pays, no deductibles, etc.  For us (the family), we pay out of pocket until we reach the $300 family deductible and then standard care is free.  Procedures and hospitalizations and whatnot are 20% out of pocket for us. The pharmacy plan is very much like we have now.  And the kids and I can still use our current doctors, as they are in the Tri-Care network. Hooray!

And without premiums, we are saving right at $400 (pre-tax) a month; I'm estimating that's about $300 extra to my check (after taxes) each month!  So what if we have to meet the $300 deductible...that's still about 11 months (after tax) savings...or somewhere between $3000 and $4000 saved after taxes.

Wow.

I could seriously find something good to do with $300/month. For now it will go to debt repayment.  Then to building a sturdy savings account.  After that?  Who knows?

I noted that if for some reason the care is terrible we would go back to my insurance next January (when they have open enrollment at work), but otherwise, this is the route we're going for now.

What would you do with an extra $300/month?

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