2017 Benefits Open Enrollment: Which health plan is the best choice for 'Eric'?

This is the final article in a four-part series to help explain how exploring your medical benefit plan options could save you money. Follow these links to the first, second and third articles.

The 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment period is underway. From now until Nov. 18, Penn State faculty and staff have the annual opportunity to make or change medical and other benefits selections, with all changes and updates taking effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

At the suggestion of faculty and staff, Human Resources is providing “real life” examples of Penn State employees to show how comparing health plans can impact the decision process. While the names have been changed, the medical out-of-pocket expenses and premium contributions are from real Penn State employees.  

“Eric” is the fourth of four Penn State employee examples illustrating claims and premium expenses that a Penn State employee could expect to pay within both plans. Take some time to review the examples and then go to the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment microsite to use the comprehensive decision tool to enter individual claims data and other important information, and see which plan may be the best option for you.

Example #4: Eric

Eric is 58, single, and manages a chronic condition. He makes $100,000 per year. Eric has considered enrolling in the Value-Based Benefit Design (VBBD) program since he is a Diabetic. He knows that cost sharing for visits and many tests related to his condition will be waived if he enrolls. He also understands that his prescriptions will not be a part of the VBBD program and knows that his prescription deductible will increase from $1,000 to $2,000 in the PPO Blue in 2017.

Recommendation after comparison:

The PPO Saving Plan is recommended for Eric. Even though Eric spent more in medical expenses in the Savings Plan, when factoring in his premium expenses he would have spent more in the PPO Blue Plan. Eric chose to use the premium difference to help fund his Health Savings Account (HSA) and pay for the out-of-pocket expenses. He also received the Penn State HSA contribution of $400 which can be used for medical expenses now or in the future.

For additional details of Eric’s real world example, visit the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment Guide e-Magazine on the Benefits Open Enrollment website. A separate e-Magazine benefits guide is also provided for members of Teamsters Local 8.

2017 Benefits Open Enrollment period is underway, and comparing health plans can help some employees save money on out-of-pocket expenses and premium contributions. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated November 16, 2016