This is a critique of my employer, not of their offer, but of their lack of transparency and their push towards the HSA plan. This is not an attack on the insurance market, which I already had to do in one of my classes towards my degree. That was loooong ago.
The health insurance year is near it's end at my job. The time to renew plans is upon us soon. Apparently, through our provider, health costs have raised 50% over the last three years alone. Not unbelievable at all. I'm actually surprised it isn't more.
I am offered X plans, the majority of which are just HSA plans. Here's how I describe HSA plans for a single, young employee. No copays for ER, Walk-in,s prescriptions (generic AND brand), or anything. You must pay the full deductible before the insurance then covers 80%. There are few things where the deductible is fully waved, and it does not cover for "special care/diagnostics/procedures" during preventive visits. In other words, the insurance is only good for "catastrophic" situations. Which is reasonable consideration for a young healthy single person with no medication.
That's the short-hand explanation. Now here's the part that makes me chuckle. Among the HSA plans, there are the two "cheapest" plans: The HSA-3 and the HSA-5. The HSA-3 costs $110 per month. The HSA-5 costs $10 per month. Here's how they work. The HSA-3 has a premium of $60 dollars. The other $50 dollars you see go into the employee's Health Saving Account card: a sort of checking account where the money is untaxed and can be only used to pay off bills for medical/dental/vision. My employer has agreed to MATCH the amount of money you put on your card. In other words, a total of $100 dollars per month goes on my card, as my employer has added $50 to match me.
This is their biggest selling point. Matching what we set aside for medical expenses. Sounds noble, doesn't it? Two minutes of math will tell you otherwise.
Consider the HSA-5 plan: same coverage, but NO money goes towards your HSA card, and thus the employer matches your contribution: $0. You're LOSING money towards your health costs by taking this plan, right? Yes, but only by about 20%, instead of 200%, as they seem to imply.
If you choose HSA-3, that's an annual cost of $1,320. You are setting aside $50 per month, and your employer is matching that, so you HSA card has an inflow of $1,200 per year, untaxed.
If you choose the HSA-5 plan, that's an annual cost of $120. Your HSA card has $0. But, the savings compared to the HSA-3 plan is $1,200 annually, which comes to around $950 dollars after deductions and taxes (I keep 80% of my paycheck).
Wait a fucking second here. What you set aside in one plan is equal to the untaxed amount in the other! The only way the HSA-3 plan could possibly be better here is if the employee has health costs that are more than $950 dollars annually. At least then he has an extra <$150 set aside by virtue of his untaxed HSA-card.
Notice the more obvious issue: the difference between the monthly cost of the HSA-3 and the HSA-5 is $100, which is EXACTLY the amount of money ends up on your HSA card if you choose the HSA-3 plan per month. In other words, my employer is NOT matching the $50 dollars you on your HSA card per month. You are paying the other $50 dollars too!
The only REAL incentive is that the $1,200 you could save annually is untaxed. But again, it's just medical money. Food stamps. Toys-R-Us money. You can't use it for anything else.
This really bothers me because my employer has been really pushing for how "great" this plan is. And promising to match your contribution. But it's really a lie. If you do the math, you are paying the full contribution of your card, and it is locked for medical expenses only, so if you have a rather healthy year, you've really lost money. One of the lead HR officers upsold the plan hard to our department. Then I of course overheard her in conversation with another employee saying how she would never take the plan. That tidbit aside, the math speaks for itself.
The HSA is considerably cheaper overall, hence why my employer is pushing it. And I am grateful that we're being offered healthcare of any kind. I've looked up rates outside of my employer. Pretty much unaffordable. But still, it's the misleading information and broad statements that piss me off.
I just wanted to vent. Also bothersome that I didn't do the math last year. I was really bullshitted into believing that my employer matched my contribution, I didn't bother to compare the $0 plan to any other, I just accepted their word.