January 12, 2015

Insurance and Doctor Changes

Our previous family doctor moved her practice to Alliance which is about a 45 minute drive for us.  We've been dragging our feet but finally all of us are established at a new doctors' office.  The great news is that the new office is just around the corner from our house.  I could probably walk there in 3 minutes if I ever needed to.

I wasn't paying attention when I set up the appointments and so Big R and I are going to a different doctor than Little R and Mr. R. But its all at the same practice.  And really, we usually see nurse practitioners anyways to get appointments quicker.  One great benefit that this medical office has is that on Saturday mornings and Monday evenings they are open for walk in appointments if we or the girls happen to get sick. Our co-pay to go to urgent care more than doubled this year but I'm hoping this will be billed as a doctor's office visit and we will be charged the doctor's office copay which is a lot less.

Changes to our Insurance Policies for the New Year:
  • Premiums Increase - I was really worried about this.  We have a decent insurance policy and the premiums aren't too bad in comparison to what a lot of other people pay.  Since the company I work for has been struggling so much lately, I was really worried our benefits would be negatively affected with the New Year.  But it wasn't too bad.  
    • Health Insurance premium increased $20 per month. ($10 per pay) Our premium is $234 per month for family coverage.
    • Dental Insurance premium and benefits remained the same. $80 per month for family coverage.
  • Other Changes to Health Insurance Policy
    • Co-pays increased.  Used to be $20 for doctor, urgent care or specialist visit.  Not sure about ER since we hadn't had to go there in the last few years but I know cost increased as well.
      • Doctor visit copay - $25
      • Urgent Care (statcare) co pay - $50
      • Specialist Copay - $50
    • Family Deductible - Increased from $900 to $1000 
    • Out Of Pocket Max - Increased to $7000 (not sure what it was last year)
  • Voluntary Life Insurance 
    • I have a small policy on Mr. R and I through my work.  I got the maximum amount that we could get without having to go through physicals.  Each year I am able to up my policy a little without needing a physical.  So the premium increase for that went from $6.45 per pay to $7.13 per pay.
  • Disability Insurance
    • We didn't purchase a short term disability policy.  The premiums were too high and we have enough in savings to cover one of us being out of work for the amount of time the policy covered.
    • We do have a long term disability insurance policy.  The rates didn't change for this.  It's $4.17 per pay.
  • Accident insurance - I normally wouldn't purchase a policy like this because it sounded too good to be true.  We pay $12.37 per pay for coverage for Mr. R and me.  Net cost per pay is $9.28 = $222.66 per year. But anytime we go to the doctor or dentist, we can submit a claim to receive $100 up to 2 times each per year.  So for a $222.66 total reduction in my annual pay, we receive the accident coverage plus $400 in cash back just for going to the doctor.  So basically we are reimbursed for the cost of the policy and make an additional $177.34 just by filing claims. Like I said, too good to be true. So I had a couple questions and then went ahead and signed up for the policy.
    • What types of appointments can I use to get my $100?  There are some limitations but I can submit the claim for a dental cleaning or wellness doctor visit.  Just by going to the dentist twice per year, we can each get the $200 cash back.
    • Are taxes taken out of the $100 checks?  No, the checks will be for $100.
    • The insurance company isn't going to lose money on a policy so what's the catch? Apparently, according to the insurance guy, a lot of people will buy the policy and then never submit there claims for the cash back.  Not sure if they forget to or just don't bother with it. So that's how the insurance company benefits, they are banking on the fact that people won't actually try to get there money.  But I can't believe that many people will sign up for this policy and never get there cash back.  
    • Goal for 2015: Submit 4 claims to make sure we get our money back out of this policy.  I just went to the doctor so when I get the EOB, I'll submit it and hopefully will be getting a check for $100.

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