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This fed's gettin' his pay raise!
Old 12-09-2010, 01:51 PM   #1
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This fed's gettin' his pay raise!

So...with the federal employees annual pay raise freeze all but a done deal, I started thinking about how I could maybe offset the effects of the freeze, at least a little. What I came up with is a change in my health insurance carrier. Federal employees have an open season every year around this time, and we have several carriers and options available to choose from. I've been with Blue Cross Blue Shield for over 20 years, but with their announced increase in premiums for 2011 and the also announced pay freeze, I've decided to jump ship & try out a plan that used to only be offered to CIA employees, called Compass Rose, but is nowadays open to DoD employees (me) and a few others, like TSA etc. Similiar coverage as BCBS with some exceptions, but for the most part appears liveable. Some benefits are actually better, notably lower co-pays for most office visits and lower individual & family calendar year deductibles. The main concern is that the prescription benefit isn't quite as good, but while we do have a few RX's, I don't think it's enough to be a major issue. The good news is that the new plan will cost me about $55 less per pay period (every 2 weeks) so I guess that will be my pay raise for 2011. As far as the 2% reduction in Social Security tax that is in the news, well...that won't apply to me because I'm under the old CSRS defined benefit plan and therefore don't pay into SS, so no SS tax is witheld from my check in the first place...just the FICA, Medicare, & federal taxes. No state income tax (Texas). Woohoo!!!....I'm gettin' a pay raise afterall!
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:14 PM   #2
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I wish I was brave enough to try out the high decuctable health plans they have available. Not sure it would make sense with a little kid tho, as we end up at the docs a lot.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I wish I was brave enough to try out the high decuctable health plans they have available. Not sure it would make sense with a little kid tho, as we end up at the docs a lot.
I don't see us ever going that route either. I'll be retired in 2 yrs at 55, then when I'm 60, I can go on Tricare, or whatever's left of Tricare at that time, and will probably suspend my FEHB. I'll most likely be retiring in an area with lot's of military and retired vets, with a big VA hospital, and almost all of the private Drs around there take Tricare. Shreveport/Bossier City, LA is a good place to be for military retirees.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
I wish I was brave enough to try out the high decuctable health plans they have available. Not sure it would make sense with a little kid tho, as we end up at the docs a lot.
I explained it to my wife like this

Look at the premiums...

for example $250/mo for high deductible plan vs $450/mo for plan with co pays.

Then compare the co pays (like $50/visit).


If you see the doctor (or a kid sees the doctor) a combined 24 times during the year, the co pay plan costs $200/mo MORE plus 24*$50=$1200. That is $3600 out of pocket on the co pay plan.

On the high deductible plan, you just need to know those doctors visits would cost "about" $125 visit (we have a high deductible plan, so I know this is what it costs us).

That $125 times 24 visits is $3000. You came out ahead by $600 with high deductible plan. You would really need to deal with SURGERY or catastrophic health care for the high deductible plan to NOT come out ahead.

**edit to add**
in first year on high deductible plan, we did hit our $7000 max within 3 months because a high cost procedure- good news is we had "free" visits from that point forward for 2009.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:51 PM   #5
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Don't forget that with the HSA high deductible plans the premiums are lower so the government will deposit the difference in your HSA savings account. If you're in relatively good health the HSA is the way to go in my opinion. The money you add to it is tax deductible and any money remaining in it when you turn 65 can be withdrawn like an IRA (taxable).
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