Investigating Insurance

Major life events. That’s what insurance companies call the major milestones in our lives. That blanket terms covers so many exciting/devastating/scary/stressful/etc. events under one umbrella that wading through what each one means can be tricky. (Maybe it’s just me? Even my detail-oriented brain gets overwhelmed!)

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Looking at insurance doesn’t encourage cuddling (for me). Instead, I’d rather hide in a blanket fort! / Image via Health Insurance Article

While 2013 contains several major life events for me (graduation! wedding! maybe new job!), it’s the approaching wedding that has really gotten me thinking about insurance. I mean, I’m going from a me to a we (in terms of legal/binding relationships).

I’ve begun slogging through insurance comparisons to see if it makes sense for Sparky and I to keep our own separate insurance plans, for me to join his, or for him to join mine. This discussion contains not just here-and-now thoughts, but entails future planning, too. You know the little poem:

It’s that baby carriage that terrifies me. / Image via KJR Collaboration

We are not ready for that third one yet, but in looking at joint insurances plans it’s definitely something we need to think about. (Excuse me while I go hyperventilate for a minute.) For now we’re perfectly happy to shower all our baby love on my nephew.

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One of us is a bit more comfortable with Nephew than the other”¦ / Personal photo

My point in posting this is not only to vent frustration (insurance documents are. not. fun.) but also to see if anyone has advice—how did you choose what to do with your insurance? Any ideas of what to look for as we consider our options? Does the whole family-planning section make you want to run the other direction as fast as you can?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Campfire

Location:
Seattle, WA
Wedding Date:
09/07/2013

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  1. Member
    Merelymere 598 posts, Busy bee @ 9:10 am

    I looked at both of our plans before we got married- I used to work for the insurance company who carries both of our medical/dental policies. Cost-wise, it made sense for us to stay on our own policies for now, since our only options are either “Single” or “Family”- ie, we pay the Family amount for only adding a spouse, or for insuring a spouse and ten kids.

    Marriage is a life event, and so is the birth of a child. Should we have a baby, we could add the baby to one of our policies and then combine the whole family onto one at open enrollment. That would be most cost-effective at that point.

    My advice? Find out how your policies work– ask about the coordination of benefits, and make sure that neither of your policies has a carve-out, which penalizes you if you take insurance through a spouse only, if you have the option of having a policy through your own employer– you would end up only getting benefits as though that policy were secondary, rather than primary. Sometimes it wouldn’t pay anything at all!
    If one of you is on a medication year-round, rather than the occasional antibiotic, see who has the best pharmacy plan. I had a pre-pay plan for awhile, so I had to pay out of pocket for medications and file for reimbursement. That was AWFUL, since I had a $300 migraine medication to fill monthly.
    If a baby is in the near future plans, and one policy has a very generous plan for maternity benefits vs. the other (for instance, only paying a hospital admission copay of $200-$300 vs. a percentage of the total bill) it may be beneficial to go with that, if the monthly payment is worth it. Just make sure that there’s not a maternity waiting period on the policy. Individual policies marketed to individuals outside of an employer-based plan do not have to be HIPAA-compliant, so they can have all kinds of waiting periods and plan exclusions. Make sure you read that information!

  2. Member
    kristen182 310 posts, Helper bee @ 9:17 am

    Perhaps I’m confused about what you meant by insurance (after reading the PP), maybe because I’m Canadian.

    If you’re talking health benefits/life insurance… I have no suggestions (as since our health care system is totally different, my suggestions are moot!).

    If you’re talking house insurance/car insurance… we combined ours pre-wedding anyways and has made things a lot easier! And probably more cost-effective, although I never did the math.. :)

  3. Member
    Mrs. Road Trip 741 posts, Busy bee @ 9:29 am

    For life insurance policies (the what-if contingency) always go term instead of whole life, it will serve you better in the long run (I used to hold a life insurance license in Florida). A good agent will lead you through the process with less feeling of needing to hide, pointing out the parts to consider covering. Looking for a plan that increases your coverage every 5 years (with nominal cost increases at those times) is a good way to hedge against minor fluctuations.

    For medical/dental, having a child (as far as future planning is concerned) is a qualifying event on every policy I’ve seen (and I handle the companies benefits, so I’ve seen a lot of them)–you should be able to add a new family member w/in 30 days of the QE with no problem, and on many plans a child is automatically covered for the first x months on her mother’s plan anyway, so you don’t have to decide now about full-family coverage, and things are going to keep changing over the next year or so as all those new regulations start kicking in.

  4. Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1069 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:44 am

    I have nothing to add because Mr. PT’s insurance is BALLER and it was a no-brainer. I can commiserate about the documents, though – annoying and I always have a “am I getting screwed?” thought in the back of my head.

  5. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 970 posts, Busy bee @ 10:10 am

    @Merelymere: @Miss Road Trip: Wow, thanks for the awesome info! I knew asking the Hive was the right way to go!
    @kristen182: I am talking health/life insurance. :) We have combined house/car insurance already.
    @Mrs. Palm Tree: Totally jealous. And when I was reading through the plans, I would come across things like “pregnancy and other conditions leading to birth.” What?

  6. Member
    ms_purple 2275 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:55 am

    Ours is also a no brainier…my insurance is by far the best. I pay next to nothing. Adding him and keeping my PPO (versus HMO) means I pay $100/mo versus $25/mo – co-pays for visits & prescriptions are $10 (I pay nothing for my annual physical or the pill now). I could get the HMO for nothing/month – but I don’t like being so limited. My PPO deductible for a family is $400. Much better than being stuck out of network and paying thousands!
    Dental is free.
    Vision is $12/month.
    The coverage for what I pay is fantastic. FH will save a lot of money coming out of his paycheck when we’re both on my insurance, the savings will more than cover the small increase of payments I will have to make each month.
    As far as everything else (auto insurance etc) we coincidentally already use the same companies! So hopefully combining will be easy.

  7. Member
    MaryRachel 307 posts, Helper bee @ 10:56 am

    I’m pretty sure we’ll add FI to my plan when we get married (I’m a teacher, so my plan is both cheaper and more comprehensive). But that + Baby part scares me too! I know I should switch plans but I have no idea to what, and the whole thing sounds overwhelming. No fun!

  8. Member
    priyathescientist 1513 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:42 pm

    On my below-poverty-line grad student salary … The idea of a baby gives me heart palpitations

  9. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 970 posts, Busy bee @ 12:44 pm

    @Ms_Purple: That sounds amazing. If only mine (or his) was that good!
    @MaryRachel: Nice! And yes, baby thoughts = overwhelming.
    @priyathescientist: Right? Deep breaths…

  10. Member
    almost-mrsp 2056 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:51 pm

    We are keeping our individual health insurance plans until we have a baby. On either of our plans, there’s no “plus one” option, so it’s individual or family. The family option won’t make sense financially until there are more than two of us.

    We don’t have life insurance, and probably won’t bother getting it until we have a baby and/or a mortgage…. it feels like those things would necessitate it.

    PS, I’m in mental health too! I’m a clinical social worker. :)

  11. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:31 am

    Aww, I think you both look perfectly comfortable with baby nephew! (and nephews/nieces are just the bessssssssst and help stave off baby fever, fo sho!)

    As for insurance, ours was a no-brainer also. For now we both have separate health insurances through our employers, but I work for a University with insurance through the University’s medical center, and it’s both relatively inexpensive and has great coverage (at least as far as I’ve encountered). I’m nooooooo good at sifting through the material (I can’t even manage to read through all of the options for our annual open enrollment period, but I know that it has worked well for me thus far, so I stick with my original choices), but I know we’ll add him to my insurance when we get married. Plus, since I work for a University, he is excited that he can take classes for free as my spouse, too! :)

  12. Guest
    Smike, Guest @ 2:04 pm

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