2017 Benefits Open Enrollment: Which health plan is 'Natalie's' best choice?

November 15, 2016

This is the third article in a four-part series to help explain how exploring your medical benefit plan options could save you money. Follow these links to the first and second articles.

The 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment period is underway. From now until Nov. 18, Penn State faculty and staff have the annual opportunity to make or change medical and other benefits selections, with all changes and updates taking effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

At the suggestion of faculty and staff, Human Resources is providing “real life” examples of Penn State employees to show how comparing health plans can impact the decision process. While the names have been changed, the medical out-of-pocket expenses and premium contributions are from real Penn State employees.  

“Natalie” is the third of four Penn State employee examples illustrating claims and premium expenses that a Penn State employee could expect to pay within both plans. Take some time to review the examples and then go to the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment microsite to use the comprehensive decision tool to enter individual claims data and other important information, and see which plan may be the best option for you.

Example #3: Natalie

Natalie, 41, is married with two young children (one is a newborn), and makes $50,000 per year. She covers the family. She is a bit uncomfortable with paying up front costs for medical care since she recently had a C-section and her son had ear surgery. She likes to be able to budget her monthly expenses.

Recommendation after comparison:

Either plan is recommended, but for someone who likes to budget monthly expenses, the PPO Blue Plan is recommended. Natalie will have spent more for medical services in the PPO Savings Plan versus the PPO Blue Plan given her experience over the year. However, she will not have received the $1,200 contribution for the Health Savings Account (HSA) which could have been used to pay for out-of-pocket expenses. She then could have taken the premium difference and put it in the HSA, as well.  Natalie still was comfortable with her choice of the PPO Blue plan.

For additional details of Natalie’s real-world example, visit the 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment Guide e-Magazine on the Benefits Open Enrollment website. A separate e-Magazine benefits guide is also provided for members of Teamsters Local 8.

  • Infographic detailing health care costs

    2017 Benefits Open Enrollment period is underway, and comparing health plans can help some employees save money on out-of-pocket expenses and premium contributions.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated November 15, 2016