Sleepwalking through another open season

For a small segment of the total federal worker-retiree population—maybe four to six percent—the health insurance hunting season that ends today has been a nightmare/blessing. Tough because so many options and plans were available. Good because of those choices and the wide variety of premiums to choose from.

It was even more a chore if you don’t like shopping, don’t do brochures and are sick of some clown (that would be me) who is constantly reminding you that if you’d get off your fat whatever and do a little work you could save $1,000 to $2,000 next year in premiums and medical costs. You could protect yourself from catastrophic medical bills in the event you or a family member have a major illness or accident.

In previous open seasons the vast majority of workers and retirees did nothing, or if they did shop around most of them decided to stay in the same plan they’ve been in for a long time. Maybe it’s the same plan they’ve been in since they joined the government? That’s even though over time the plan’s benefits have slipped, the individuals needs have changed with age and health, and premiums have skyrocketed.

Most of the people who switch plans during open seasons past have been younger, healthier workers. Many have taken advantage of high deductible (HD) plans that give you a savings plan.

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Many federal agencies subscribed to the online version of the Consumer’s Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees. It allows people to shop at the office and compare plans, see if their doctor is in the network and find those with the best premium deals — even some HD and consumer driven plans that will pay your premiums and/or setup a savings account for you. Checkbook author Walton Francis said he knows many feds in those high deductible, low premium plans that have accounts in excess of $30,000.

For a quick tutorials that may help check out these columns with tips from Checkbook experts:

Now a confession: I’ve been so busy telling you to shop around that I missed our open season here at the office! So, nobody’s perfect, right?

Nearly Useless Factoid

By David Thornton

One chipmunk can gather up to 165 acorns a day.

Source: National Geographic Kids

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