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

This is the second article in a four-part series to help explain how exploring your medical benefit plan options could save you money. Follow this link to the first article in the series.

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.  

“Jake” is the second 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 #2: Jake

Jake, 27, is single, takes some prescription medications, makes $40,000 per year, and has two children whom he covers under the health plan. Jake is considering using the premium difference between the PPO Blue and PPO Savings Plan to help fund his health savings account (HSA). That, coupled with the Penn State contribution, covers more than half of the family deductible. He also knows that his children’s annual physicals are covered at 100 percent, and that they typically need to visit their primary care physician for non-preventive visits a couple of times per year.

Recommendation after comparison:

The PPO Savings Plan is recommended for Jake. Even though Jake spent more in medical expenses in the Savings Plan, he would have spent more in premium contributions for the PPO Blue Plan versus the PPO Savings Plan and chose to use the premium difference to help fund his HSA and pay for the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by two PCP visits for his children. He also received the Penn State HSA contribution of $1,200, which can be used for medical expenses now or in the future.

For additional details of Jake’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 14, 2016