It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Life Insurance a Bargain For Us

This post is part of a series on choosing benefits.  Today I will look at the ins and outs of our choices for Life Insurance.

The next item on the benefits agenda is life insurance.  Again, Large Conglomerate has several offerings.  Some are free, and some we must pay for.

We are offered:

  • Basic Life/Accidental Death and Dismemberment, with CIGNA Secure Travel
  • Business Travel Accident Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance
  • Personal Accident Insurance
  • Dependent Life Insurance

All of these are provided at NO COST TO US:

Basic Life/Accidental Death and Dismemberment

  • Basic Life Insurance -standard life insurance with a death benefit of 1.5 times Husband’s base salary.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment (ADD) Insurance – pays an additional amount up to 1.5 times Husband’s base salary if the death is accidental, or if he suffers a dismemberment.  I haven’t seen the coverage for dismemberment, but these benefits are usually paid out as a percentage of the death benefit, and that percentage depends on what has been, er, lost.  I can’t find ours, but here’s a link to another policy and the coverage is likely similar.  It’s a bit macabre to read.  And no, it doesn’t cover if you lose your pinky toe.  Ouch.

CIGNA Secure Travel – This isn’t a death benefit.  As part of the ADD coverage, CIGNA Secure Travel provides emergency medical and travel services whentraveling more than 100 miles from home on company business or vacation.  I never really read this carefully before as Husband doesn’t travel for business, so I didn’t realize it covers vacations, too.  We can get help with pre-trip foreign travel assistance, interpreters, medical referrals, prescription refills, emergency travel services, and transportation of remains.    I will make sure I travel with their 800 number in the future.

Business Travel Accident Insurance

This is the death benefit coverage that pays if Husband dies or is dismembered while on company business.  Benefits vary based on the severity of the injury, but generally will pay up to four times his annual base salary up to 1.5 miillion.  We won’t have any problem staying under that  threshold.   It generally does not cover accidents to and from work.  It likely would provide coverage if he had to go see a client.  If Son and/or I accompanied Husband on a business trip we are also covered, with $50,000 for me and $25000 for Son.

All of that is free, so a very big YES, and  thank  you very much.

These benefits are offered at an additional cost to us:

Supplemental Life Insurance – Allows us to purchase an additional amount of life insurance from one to five times Husband’s salary.  Premiums are paid with after-tax dollars, so there is no tax benefit.  When Husband first started with the company we purchased this coverage, but only did three times his salary.   Then we found out he’s Diabetic. We’d love to increase it, but to increase coverage after you initually enroll you have to show Evidence of Insurability.  Yeah, not happening.  Rates are based on age and salary, and the policy is portable which means you can take it with you when you leave, as long as you are under  age 70.  That’s definitely what we’ll be doing, as buying new Life Insurance for Husband is just way too expensive.

Personal Accident Insurance – This is a new benefit this year.  Basically it’s just another accident policy, but it’s cheap ($.22 per $1000 of coverage), and they do not require Evidence of Insurability.  Pretty much any time I can buy coverage for him without evidence of insurability I do.  Thank you, Diabetes.

Dependent Life Insurance – Son and I are eligible for coverage, and we can choose several different amounts.  We did choose $50000 for me when we got married, which also gives us $10000 for Son.  Again the Evidence of Insurability monster rears it’s ugly head and we cannot increase this.  I have another $25000 in a paid up whole life policy I bought before I retired.  It’s not rated for age, so the $13 per month we pay isn’t bad.

So, yes, we are taking all of that, too.  The bottom line for us and life insurance is that we take as much as we can through work because we won’t be able to get anywhere near a decent rate with individual policies.  Yay aging.  Yay Diabetes.  Yay asthma.

Tomorrow I’ll wind up the series talking about Long Term Care, Legal, Pet Insurance, Discount Programs and the rest.

And then I’ll start writing posts that don’t put you all to sleep.  It will be a nice change.

Read the rest of the series!

It’s Benefits Enrollment Time, Series Overview

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 1 – Evaluating What You’ve Got

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 2 – The Plans and What They Really Cost

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Dental Insurance and Why The Math is So Important

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Seeing the Vision Plan Clearly. Finally.

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Disability and Long Term Care Insurance are Good to Have

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Legal, Pet Insurance and Lots of Little Perks

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Seeing the Vision Plan Clearly. Finally.

This post is part of a series on choosing benefits.  Today I will look at the ins and outs of our choices for Vision Care.

Husband has worked for Large Conglomerate for nearly seven years, and 2009 will be only the third year they’ve offered vision coverage.  I wear contact lenses, and I am a very serious, naughty overwearer.  I believe I’m supposed to wear each daily lens for two weeks before discarding them and using fresh lenses.  For me it’s often more like two months.  Or more.

I was thrilled when they started offering this coverage, as it had been twelve years since I’d gotten new glasses.  Granted, I only wear them at night, but the prescription was just not getting the job done, and my frames were past the point of repair.   Can you say tape?

The offerings this year are the same as that first year, and it is through VSP.   They offer the VSP Core Plan and the VSP Core Plan with Buy-Up.

VSP Core Plan

  • One eye exam every twelve months after $10 copayment.
  • $A 200 allowance applies to the cost of my contacts and the contact lens exam.

OR

  • One pair of lenses per year and one pair of frames every 24 months after $25 copayment.
  • A $200 allowance applies to the cost of the frames.
  • The cost of frames exceeding $200, additional prescription glasses and sunglasses all receive a 20% discount.


VSP Core Plan with Buy-Up is the same as the Core Plan except:

  • Two separate $200 allowances applies to the cost of my contacts and the contact lens exam.

OR

  • Two pair of lenses per year and two pairs of frames every 24 months after $25 copayment.
  • Two separate $200 frame allowances.

Or, you can do what I did that first year and get one pair of glasses and one set of contacts.

Husband has never worn glasses, so until this year I was the only one using it.  I chose the VSP Core Plan with Buy-Up that first year because I needed new glasses and contacts, and actually broke even (other than the premiums) because there was a rebate on the contacts which covered my copayments.


Pitfalls and PITAs and Good News

I know I could get glasses and contacts much cheaper than I can through the opticians covered under the plan, through Costco or Walmart or any number of online purveyors.  A lot cheaper.  But I’d still have to pay for an exam and a contact lens prescription, and it’s been my experience that doctors actually charged me for an eyeglass prescription of I wasn’t getting my glasses there.  Which really, really peeves me.

The biggest pitfall to this program is that they do not have any accounts with any of the discount retailers, which you would think would save them money.   Our optician gave me the reason for that when she told me that they do all of their own lensmaking, so it saves them a fortune.  And I’m sure they only reimburse a fraction of the retail price on the frames, too.   I have gone over the coverage limit and had to pay out of pocket.

On the other hand, last year the optician price-matched the lowest price I found online for the contact lenses.   With the rebate I wound up making money on the deal.

Last year and this year we skipped the Buy-Up and just did the VSP Core Plan. I actually have my appointment for this year’s lenses tomorrow morning (after 20 months I’m getting low on lenses).  I was contemplating letting the coverage go next year, figuring that I could do just as well through a discounter and that I probably would not need to buy lenses next year at all.  But then we found out that Husband needed glasses, for the first time ever.  Getting old has it’s challenges!

Because he’s diabetic we wanted to go to our Opthamologist, who is not on the plan (though other Opthamologists are).  We walked in to the optician (one of those people who are really, really good at their job and just accentuate the crappy customer service you get everywhere else) with a prescription and walked out with a pair of really killer titanium lenses with polycarbonate scratch-resistant lenses, glare protection (pretty important here in the land of the sun),  and clip-on sunglasses for $75 out of pocket.  That’s a pretty good deal that I don’t think I could have matched online.  Fantastic Optician also commented that VSP is the best Vision plan she’s ever seen, so that was an interesting tidbit, too.

So, let’s look at the costs for 2009.

VSP Core Plan 2009 Annual Premium: $85.32 (Note: I do not get the family plan for this, I select the Employee + 1 pricing.  Son does not need Vision Care, so why pay extra?)

Copayments:  $20

VSP Core Plan with Buy-Up 2009 Annual Premium:  $113.40

Copayments:  $20

So, bottom line is that now that Husband and I are both visually challenged this becomes an even better deal for us.   And something else occurred to me just this very second.

I’m thinking that perhaps we’ll do the VSP Core Plan with Buy-Up this year.  For an addtiional $28.08 ( that’s only $1.17 per paycheck – and paid with pre-tax dollars!)  I can get twice the amount of contacts and Husband can pick up a pair of prescription sunglasses, and  we can likely skip the coverage for 2010, and maybe even 2011 and save those premiums.

Oh, yes.  We will definitely be doing the VSP Core Plan with the Buy-Up this year.



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Read the rest of the series!

It’s Benefits Enrollment Time, Series Overview

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 1 – Evaluating What You’ve Got

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Medical Insurance Part 2 – The Plans and What They Really Cost

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Dental Insurance and Why The Math is So Important

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Life Insurance a Bargain For Us

It’s Benefit Enrollment Time – Disability and Long Term Care Insurance are Good to Have

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