As a few others have mentioned, it’s Open Enrollment season. In the past nothing too exciting has happened, apart from a few dollar increases here and there.

Luckily the dental and vision plans have remained the same. Unfortunately no changes in the 401k either (still no company match in sight). The most drastic change is in our medical coverage. Aside from the $4 a week increase they are doing a complete overhaul of our plan…

We used to have a plain old open access PPO, however in 2010 we are converting to HRA’s, or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement. Basically,how that works is that our company gives us a pool with a certain amount of money (in my case, $750 for a single person). Whenever I get treatment for something, or a prescription it draws from this amount. Their reasoning is that this will hopefully get people to think about where they get their treatment instead of just heading to the emergency room automatically (that was one example), or getting an MRI someplace expensive when you could save several hundred dollars elsewhere. The one cool thing is that our provider now offers a feature that will tell us how much a certain facility charges for a procedure or whatnot. (If they offered it before it was VERY hard to find. I never found anything like that!)

Once that $750 is gone (the amount is higher if you have others on your plan) we have a $2,000 deductible we have to meet ($1250 out of my pocket, plus the $750). At that point I believe we pay 20% of any cost. At $4,000 the insurance kicks back in at 100%.

It doesn’t sound too bad, particularly when you throw in the fact that any preventative care visits are $0. So that wouldn’t draw from my deductible. Within a typical year I would only go to the OB/GYN for my yearly checkup anyway, and perhaps the general physician as well. So all that is free. However the problem is my BC pills….

With our current plan I pay $50 for every three months of BC pills. However, I did some research, then called our pre-enrollment hotline to find out how much I would pay next year. The answer was…..$70…. A MONTH!

Not good. This was after the “discount”. So, calculated over the entire year, it would bring the total to about $850. That’s $100 OVER the money I get! UGH!

I realize that’s not horrible. I paid around $240 out of pocket this year for the pills, so right off I’m going to have some out of pocket savings. I was just hoping this new plan would eliminate my spending!

I also realize that another option would be switching to cheaper pills. However, when I take into consideration how I felt before I switched pills….that is not an option. (I was experiencing some pretty serious depression before I switched to Yaz.) I would gladly pay $70 a month to NOT feel that way again!

So I suppose my real question is…how much should I put into my FSA?

$100, just to cover the pills? Or should I add in some more in case anything comes up? $200? In case I feel like getting new contacts (since I’m not getting Lasik for now), or in case I need some other prescriptions? The FSA is a “use it or lose it” deal, so I’d rather not put much more than I need!

Your advice would be much appreciated!