I just logged into the federal marketplace to see what coverage options are available to my wife and me for 2017. What a difference a year makes!
When we enrolled for 2016, we had about 20 plans to choose from: a dozen from UPMC, a handful from Geisinger and a handful from Capital Blue Cross. We chose a Geisinger silver plan, and our monthly premiums have been $1,289.
Available plans in Centre County for 2017 include: Seven from UPMC (one bronze, five silver, one gold), two from Geisinger (one silver, one gold), and two from Capital Blue Cross (one silver, one gold). Highmark used to be an option, but they bowed out after 2015.
If we choose the Geisinger silver plan, our premiums will be $2,140 per month. That represents a 66 percent increase in our basic health plan cost. UPMCs silver is averaging $1,350, and Capital Blue Cross silver is $2,280. Let’s not forget the $7,000 deductible if something were to happen, regardless of which company we select.
We’re going to make some sort of decision in the next month, but the choices aren’t pretty, nor are they affordable. Foregoing coverage and incurring the “lack of coverage penalty” on our tax return is a viable option still on the table. This last choice is far cheaper for us so long as we’re healthy, but is it the best choice?
I’m confident that we’re not the only family facing this dilemma right now.
Roger Fetter, State College