Insurance points to remember

As we all fluctuate from higher prices for everything from steak to gasoline to furniture and bedding, here’s another important point to keep in mind: health insurance. In its annual cost survey, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that annual premiums for employer-funded family health insurance increased 4% year over year, “with workers paying an average of $ 5,969 toward the cost of their coverage. The average deductible for insured employees on a plan with a general annual deductible is $ 1,669 for individual insurance. “

With a renewed focus on the fragility of our health and the increase in job losses and transfers, this seems like a particularly important season. Let’s try to combat the impulse to throw in the towel and just do what you did last year and make smarter – and potentially – money-saving decisions instead.

Start by reviewing your existing health insurance coverage, what you spent in 2021; and then try to extrapolate what your healthcare costs will be in 2022. Keep in mind that in the midst of COVID, you may have left out routine appointments that you need to keep in mind for the next year. Then compare the available plans to see what they cover; how much they cost, including co-payments and deductibles; and whether your doctors are in the network. Don’t forget to regularly identify medications you are taking and make sure the plan covers them.

To reduce the annual sticker shock, consider a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which offers lower premiums and is combined with tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts (HSA). For 2022, the IRS defines a high-deductible health insurance plan as any plan with a deductible of at least $ 1,400 for an individual or $ 2,800 for a family. If you are generally healthy and want to save for future health expenses, the HDHP / HSA can be an attractive choice. Or, if you are about to retire, it may make sense as the money in the HSA can be used to cover medical costs even after you retire. The maximum contribution for 2022 is $ 3,650 for an individual and $ 7,300 for a family. Those over 55 years old can make an additional $ 1,000 contribution.

The popularity of HDHP / HSA options has reduced the focus on Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), but many companies still offer this option. In 2022, you can pre-tax $ 2,850 to pay for non-reimbursed medical expenses. Critics of the FSAs lamented the fact that the plans were “use-it-or-lose it”, meaning that you had to incur eligible expenses or forfeit any unspent funds until the end of the plan year. However, COVID-related legislation allows a full carryover of unused funds from 2021 to 2022, if your company agrees.

For those not covered by a workplace plan, the Affordable Care Act open enrollment began November 1 and runs through January 15, 2022. If you would like coverage to begin January 1, you should sign up by Sign on December 15th. If you wait until after December 15th, coverage will likely begin February 1st. Note: If you are using a state marketplace, be sure to check out certain windows for open registration as these may differ from the federal government’s deadlines.

There is good news when it comes to the cost of ACA attendees. The benchmark plan’s average premium will be about 3% lower than it was in 2021, according to the government, but there could be a slight increase in some state marketplaces. Additionally, ACA subsidies enacted under the American Rescue Plan Act will remain in effect for 2022. The Kaiser Family Foundation has more information on ACA changes that could affect family insurance, so please check it out.

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