Free 2018 health insurance?

Did you know it is possible (and legal) to get free health insurance next year?

Some of the CD and HD (consumer-driven or high-deductible) health plans provide policyholders with a savings account that is usually larger than premium costs after taxes. Federal Employees Health Benefits Program expert Walton Francis says that if your medical costs are low, “you can end 2018 with more money than you started.”

Francis is the editor of the Consumers’ Checkbook Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees. He says as many as half the people in the federal health program could get equal or better coverage —and save money too — if they would shop and switch to another health plan between now and Dec. 11, the end of the open season.

All of the FEHBP plans are good, Francis says. But some are better than others for you, and some are just too expensive.

Picking a plan with the best “catastrophic coverage” could save you from staggering bills next year if you or a family member are hit with major medical bills because of an illness or accident. The out-of-pocket amount you could owe in a worst-case scenario ranges from just over $7,000 for some HMO plans to as much as $18,000. So always check the limit-to-you coverage when deciding whether to stay with your current plan or switch.

Francis also says that in some cases, workers and retirees can receive equal coverage, yet save lots of money by switching from the “standard” option to the same carrier’s “basic” option.

Other tips include making sure that your favorite doctor will be in the PPO network of the plan you are considering next year. Going out-of-network can be very, very expensive, Francis says.

Five-year rule

If you are currently enrolled in your private-sector spouse’s health plan, instead of the FEHBP, sign up this year. Pick an FEHBP plan with low premiums. That will make you eligible for the federal program when you retire and your spouse’s private-sector plan changes or disappears. The rule is you must be covered by one of the FEHBP plans for five years prior to retirement. Many feds, who learned too late about the five-year rule, have wound up working longer than they planned just to qualify. Don’t make that mistake.

For more tips, listen to our Your Turn radio show Wednesday, at 10 a.m. ET. Walt Francis will give more tips that could have you save money, get better coverage and, if you go the CD or HD route, maybe even free insurance.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

The root of the phrase “chump change” can be traced back to 18th century English. The “chump” is an amalgamation of “chunk” and “lump” to signify a piece of wood. “Chump” later became slang for someone who was an idiot or a fool. So then, “chump change” would represent such a small amount of money that only a fool would care about it.

Source: Today I Found Out

Read more of Mike Causey’s Federal Report