Hottest game in town: What’s my premium?

Time for a little quiz to test how much (or how little) you know about your federal health plan program. Having the right insurance could protect you and your family from the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country: medical bills. So here goes:

Starting in January 2017, federal workers premiums will be going up:

  1. 4.4 percent
  2. 6.2 percent
  3. 3.7 percent
  4. None of the above
  5. All of the above
  6. It depends

In a sense, all of them are correct but misleading. In some cases very misleading. Here’s why:

When reporting on the new 2017 premiums most people focus on the “average”. But that does that mean?

The 4.4 percent figure is correct for the average increase of all the plans in the program. But premiums for workers and retirees will rise an average of 6.2 percent, which the government, which pays the lion’s share of the total premium, will wind up on average paying 3.7 percent more. Confused? Good. That means you have been paying attention.

Here’s an example of how useful — yet totally misleading — averages can be.

Let’s say after a night of heavy partying, with much alcohol involved, you bet your buddies that you can walk across the Chesapeake Bay. On stilts. Upon reflection the next day you wish you hadn’t made that bet, but you soldier on. First task, how deep is the Chesapeake Bay?

  1.  57.7 feet
  2. 174.0 feet
  3. 21 feet

The correct answer, sort of, is 21 feet. So if you build some stilts that are a tad over 21 feet tall, you are in good shape, right?

Wrong. The massive bay, flanked by Maryland and Virginia, is an “average” of 21 feet deep. But in places it is up to 174 feet in depth. So while the average is correct (and it must be because it’s on the internet), it is misleading. Not intentionally, but it just is. If you are planning to cross it on stilts They will need to be tall enough to keep your head above water at the deepest (not average ) point.

As for your health plan average. Any way you hack it, the rise is modest compared to some past years. Retirees will feel it most, however, because of the very, very, very small cost of living adjustment they are likely to get in January.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

It usually takes an adult 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep at night.

Source: Quora

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