First, we looked at the total cost of the premiums between the packages offered to us. There was a significant difference, so we knew right away that we would have to look carefully at the differences in the plans. We are fortunate that his company offers premium reductions to non-smokers (which we are) and another discount for completing a wellness program. We completed the required surveys and have enrolled in those programs, thus completing all available discount options.
Second, we looked at how much we spent on health-care this over the past few years, how many visits we made (and what type i.e. to specialists, tests, etc) and anticipated how many we would need this upcoming year, to the best of our ability. We knew that we would all need at least one well check, probably 1-2 sick visits, and then listed the specialists visits we know we will make. Since my back is causing me problems, we included visits for that.
Third, we matched the copay amounts under each option to the visits we anticipate. One plan covers 80% post deductible, the other 90%. The 90% has a slightly higher deductible and premium as well. However, with our anticipated costs, it looks to be the most cost effective plan for us. This will differ for every family.
Fourth, we looked at how much we anticipate our out of pocket costs to be on the plan we chose. Then we started over making the same lists of our prescription costs in the recent past. We know that the copay's for our maintenance drugs will be the same, so we calculated those costs. Some we can put on mail order to save money, others we cannot.
Finally, we added up all of these amounts, and decided upon the amount to put in our FSA account. While over the counter drugs will not be covered next year, we made sure to put in enough to cover what we expect to pay, without putting in so much that we will worry about losing anything we don't use. It is a careful calculation!
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