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Benefits update – I’ve completed our package

November 5, 2008
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Well, I just finished signing up for our benefits for 2009. My benefit OOP expenses per month for 2008 is $512.46 and for 2009 will be $569.98.

This will actually save me money and I will explain.

I had never signed up for our VISION insurance but for 2009 I did sign up after reviewing my last two years of vision cost and discussing with people who had the VBA insurance. It will cost me 12.50/month but that will give both Bear and eye a comprehensive eye exam, glasses – nice glasses for the year. Now this will cost me 150.00 for 2009 but I was spending OOP 350.00 per year for our glasses and that did not include the extra 100.00 for my contact lense supply. So I have saved about 100.00 – 150.00 on our vision without compromising quality. Now if I decide to get a tinted lense or something that is not covered then I will pay for that out of my Flexible spending account. The great thing about the optional add-ons that may not be covered on the insurance they are still contracted at a price that is very reasonable to the consumer.

The only difference is that you have to PLAN for your eye exam by requesting VBA send you the voucher for your exam (you have 90 days in which to use the voucher once it is issued) you need to schedule your eye exam within the week. I have been told that the turn around time for the voucher is about 2-3 days to receive in the mail. You must take the voucher with you to the participating provider (they have an extensive list of providers) within the 90 day issuance of the voucher. The provider will handle everything else unless you have any OOP expenses.

The other area that I increased was my Flexible spending account – I moved it from 166.66/month to 200.00/month. This is to ensure that our medical OOP is as tax free as possible. All money paid into your FSA reduces the amount of income tax you have to pay. It does make a difference and if your afraid to start that high just start with covering your basic medical needs of prescriptions and routine office visits. Once you get accustomed to that amount then the next benefit enrollment increase it by 50.00 until you are at a comfortable level. Just remember – You must use ALL of the money in the account by 12/31/2009 or you will lose it – keep track monthly and make adjustments – you can also use the FSA for certain OTC drugs. My doctor prescribed a trainer for fitness and health and so now my trainer is covered as well. Review what is and isn’t covered and see what you can use your FSA for to reduce your OOP and your income taxes.

Bear and I don’t have any dependent children but if we did I would also use the Dependent Care Spending account to manage and budget this out of pocket expense to! Now if you do this one you are not able to claim any child care paid through this program on your tax returns so weigh your benefits prior to signing up.

My health plan went up $6.00 from previous year, dental remained the same but we switched providers and this one is covering more costs for the same price, my company offers a supplemental life insurance policy which I subscribe both of us on and that had a minimal increase.

I’m happy with our benefit choices and I am very thankful to have a job that offers these benefits at reasonable rates.

Just thought I would keep you posted – I took me longer this year to put together our benefits package and get signed up since several areas had changed. I make sure that I understand every detail of our plans to ensure that I have selected appropriately for Bear and I.

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