Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

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Topic Author
Tdubs
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:50 pm

Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Tdubs » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:43 pm

The new 2020 premiums for federal medical plans have been posted. I've been considering switching my HDHP from GEHA to CareFirst. I know many favor GEHA, and it worked fine for me this year. But Checkbook indicates CareFirst is more cost effective regardless of usage (see below--costs are for 2019). Opinions?

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fujiters
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by fujiters » Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:16 am

GEHA also offers "GEHA rewards", which also gets you $150/couple in the form of a prepaid Mastercard which can be used for medical expenses (like excess dental expenses), and another $350/couple which can be used for anything at welldeservedhealth.com (I use mine primarily for sunscreen and multivitamins).

Does the CareFirst HDHP have a similar program? If not, I think think this gives GEHA a slight edge for people expecting low use of their insurance (and it's nearly a wash in the unexpected high-usage case).
“The purpose of the margin of safety is to render the forecast unnecessary.” -Benjamin Graham

Topic Author
Tdubs
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Tdubs » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:25 am

fujiters wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 4:16 am
GEHA also offers "GEHA rewards", which also gets you $150/couple in the form of a prepaid Mastercard which can be used for medical expenses (like excess dental expenses), and another $350/couple which can be used for anything at welldeservedhealth.com (I use mine primarily for sunscreen and multivitamins).

Does the CareFirst HDHP have a similar program? If not, I think think this gives GEHA a slight edge for people expecting low use of their insurance (and it's nearly a wash in the unexpected high-usage case).
Not sure, but worth checking.

Still, the estimates for no, low, average, and high spend all favor CareFirst by a fair amount, as does dental care. There are some odd categories where one plan has an advantage over the other, but CareFirst seems better overall and with a lower deductible. I haven't looked at the affiliated HSA yet.

Topic Author
Tdubs
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Tdubs » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:53 am

Most other features seem even, though the formulary might be more restrictive on CareFirst. CareFirst has higher satisfaction ratings.

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Helo80
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Helo80 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:08 am

Anybody have a quick link on what the premium pass through for our HSA is across all the HDHP plans?

It'll be a hot mess if I ask at work as many think FSA=HSA.

Topic Author
Tdubs
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Tdubs » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:33 am

Helo80 wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:08 am
Anybody have a quick link on what the premium pass through for our HSA is across all the HDHP plans?

It'll be a hot mess if I ask at work as many think FSA=HSA.

GEHA's remains at $1800 for 2020. CareFirst's I can't find.

Helo80
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Helo80 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:35 am

Tdubs wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:33 am
Helo80 wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:08 am
Anybody have a quick link on what the premium pass through for our HSA is across all the HDHP plans?

It'll be a hot mess if I ask at work as many think FSA=HSA.

GEHA's remains at $1800 for 2020. CareFirst's I can't find.

Thanks! I want to say a PDF from OPM will eventually get posted that lists them all, but that could take a few weeks.

Super Hans
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Re: Federal Employee Open Season: Which HDHP?

Post by Super Hans » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:28 am

Does anyone understand how the Carefirst network works in conjunction with the national Blue Cross network? I've never been able to figure this out, whether for CareFirst or the other regional BC/BS companies. It's important for me to have a national plan. Carefirst is Washington, D.C.-based and apparently has a DC/MD/VA network. But their material also describes being able to use BC/BS providers outside the area. Are there different tiers of coverage (e.g., local network, national, and out-of-network)? I'm probably sticking with the GEHA HDHP for 2020, which uses Aetna and UHC networks. But I'd be curious to know how, for instance, a Mass. General stay would be covered with GEHA vs. Carefirst vs. FEPBlue.

I have the same kind of issue in helping my mom with Medicare Advantage: Aetna, for instance, markets a regional plan but then promises access to Aetna doctors nationwide when traveling (which presumably could be medical tourism and not an unexpected accident on the road).

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