Consider me bent.

Consider me bent.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how my family’s health insurance premiums will double (at the very least) under the new healthcare law known as the Affordable Care Act.  Since then, I’ve been doing a lot more research on different plans and scenarios as I try to find ways to reign in our costs.  And I’ve tried to see the bright side of things.  After all, we can afford the almost $400 per month increase in premiums.  We can also write them off as a business expense, which is a nice perk.  On top of that, since we’ll sign up for a high deductible plan, we can continue using a health savings account (HSA) to pay for our healthcare costs with after-tax dollars…..or so I thought……

First of all, let’s start with the plan I have now and the cheapest plan available in the exchange.

My Current Plan:

  • Anthem with an $11,000 deductible
  • covers 100% after the deductible is met
  • $377 per month

Cheapest Plan on Exchange:

  • Anthem plan with a $10,000 deductible
  • covers 60% after deductible is met with an out-of-pocket max of $12,700
  • $738 per month

Ouch!  As you can see, my premiums will double under the Affordable Care Act.  Furthermore, I will actually end up with a maximum out-of-pocket that is about $1,700 higher than what it is now.

However, the pain doesn’t stop there.  After a little more digging, I noticed that the cheapest plan said it wasn’t compatible with a health savings account.  And I thought that was really weird since the deductible was $10,000!  After all, I thought that health savings accounts were supposed to be available for plans with at least a $2,500 deductible.  Here’s what I dug up after some research at ehealthinsurance.com and irs.gov:

The High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) required deductibles for an HSA did not change from 2013 to 2014:

  • $1,250 for self-only coverage
  • $2,500 for family coverage

The annual out-of-pocket expenses include deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums. The 2014 out-of-pocket maximums are:

  • $6,350 for self-only coverage (up $100 from 2013)
  • $12,700 for family coverage (up $200 from 2013)

Then I was really confused.  So, armed with my questions, I called the healthcare.gov hotline to get some answers.

Is Obamacare Taking Away my HSA?

Unfortunately, they couldn’t give me any.  After escalating my question to two different departments, they stated that they would have to call me back an answer in the next 2-5 business days.  Awesome.  Fortunately, my digging didn’t stop there.  I started an online chat with ehealthinsurance.com a few hours later, hoping that they could answer my question.  And they did……kind’ve. 

You are now chatting with Gabriella. Welcome to eHealthInsurance’s live chat service. How can I help you today?

Holly: hi

Holly: I have a question.

Holly: I’m looking at the plans available to me. There are 16 plans. However, only three of them say they are eligible for an HSA.

Holly: Why aren’t the others ones eligible for a health savings account when they are high deductible?

Gabriella: it depends on the carrier. they have the right to make the plan eligible or not.

Holly: So, the carrier can make the plan ineligible even if it is a high deductible plan?

Holly: Can someone go out and get their own HSA to correspond with the plan?

Gabriella: I’m afraid not.

Gabriella: you will have to select a plan that are eligible for HSA first.

Holly: So, even a plan with a $10,000 deductible cannot use an HSA unless the carrier permits it?

Gabriella: You have some very important and specific questions. It would be best for you to give us a call at (800) 977-8860 and one of our licensed representatives can discuss your questions in greater detail.

Gabriella: We are open now

So, I called the ehealthinsurance.com and spoke to a customer service agent.  What he said was this: “Some of the high deductible plans aren’t required to be HSA-compatible because they don’t meet certain guidelines.”  However, he couldn’t explain what those guidelines were.

How This Affects Me (And You)

In the state of Indiana, very few health insurance providers are participating in the exchange.  Because of that, we are only able to choose between eighteen plans at healthcare.gov.  However, when you take out all of the plans that aren’t HSA-compatible, we only have three plans to choose from.  Or, you know, we could always choose one of the other high-deductible plans and pay all of our healthcare costs with after-tax dollars.  Let that sink in for a minute.

So, in a country as big as the U.S., in a state as populous as Indiana, a family of four gets to choose between three plans that are eligible for a health savings account.  THREE PLANS!  Honestly, it’s bad enough that our premiums will double and that we have to pay the full, unsubsidized amount.  But it’s absolutely insane and corrupt to only allow consumers the choice of three plans that have the benefit of a health savings account.

In case you’re interested, here are the three whopping plans available to us.  As you can see, we get to choose between Anthem, Anthem, or Anthem.  (I know, I know.  I’m simply overwhelmed by all of these choices!)

Anthem Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $12,600
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,700
  • Monthly Premium: $744.69

Anthem Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $9,000
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,700
  • Monthly Premium: $752.05

Anthem Silver DirectAccess w/HSA

  • Deductible: $6,000
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $7,200
  • Monthly Premium: $921.85

Honestly, I feel lied to in so many waysRemember all of the healthcare reform talking points?  When healthcare reform was sold to the American public, we were told that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”  Same thing with your doctor.  We were also told that competition would bring prices down (LOL) and my hands-down absolute FAVE:

“I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

It would be downright hilarious if it weren’t so tragic. 

UPDATE***  After spending Thursday night searching for more HSA-eligible plans, I did find two more that were available in Indiana.  Unfortunately, they both cost about THREE TIMES what I’m currently paying.  Here are the two additional plans:

Humana National Preferred Bronze 6300/6300 Plan with Children’s Dental

  • Deductible: $12,600
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket: $12,600
  • Premium: $936.46 per month

Humana National Preferred Silver 3650/3650 Plan with Children’s Dental

  • Deductible: $7,300
  • Maximum Out-of-pocket: $7,300
  • Premium: $1,082.76 per month