Can a Federal Employee save money by switching his family of four to a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) / Health Savings Account (HSA)? Here’s a follow-up.

So far we’ve survived flu season and our first round of Brand-Name prescriptions for 2 members of the family.  Getting one of the Brand Name prescriptions approved was a major goat rodeo, while the other Brand-Name prescription was easy to obtain but came with some serious sticker shock (more on this particular issue in a future post).

While one of the drugs was $593 for a 90-day supply(!), amazingly we’re still not far behind where we would be if we had stuck with BCBS Basic (FEHB code 112). We’ve spent $1438 YTD on Aetna HDHP/HSA versus $1263 YTD last year with BCBS:

Aetna FEHB HDHP HSA Costs Feb 2013


Other FEHB Aetna HDHP/HSA Notes:

  •  Since January was a partial month, and HSA’s by law cannot provide premium rebates until February, Aetna went ahead and kicked us 2 premium rebates of $125 in to the month of February. A pleasant surprise !
  •  Still no costs out of pocket for preventative dental (!)
  •  One Doctor’s office visit to a GP (our Family Practitioner, part of Aetna’s “Preferred Network”) cost us $188. In other “Statements of benefit” from Aetna we have noticed that there was a ‘Top Line’ charge, and then the ‘Aetna Member Rate’ (kind of like the ‘wholesale rate’). Even though this was ‘only’ a visit to a GP, Aetna had no ‘Aetna Memebr Rate’ for our GP, so we will end up paying the ‘Top Line’ cost of $188 🙁
  •  Contrary to Aetna’s brochure, you cannot set up an automatic allotment to your FSA using FEDFLEX.  Instead, go to DFAS (or agency payroll office) and set up an Allotment using your HSA routing number and account number.  Sadly, Aetna does not make this info readily available- You have to call Aetna to get this info, as it is not listed in any of your enrollment or monthly statement paperwork.


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4 thoughts on “FEHB Aetna HDHP/HSA Cost Update – February

  1. I’ve been using Aetna HDHP/HSA for 4 yrs now and generally satisfied with it. My only real problem came when I had a major medical emergency and went to an out of network hospital. The hospital was in network and then went out of network the year I had my event. Going out of network cost me an extra $5k at least and lots of paperwork. So find out your preferred options for several items and keep a cheat sheet in your wallet. But you have the same problem with any issurance company.

    One thing you’ll learn to get the most out of this approach is you truly have to be a healthcare consumer. You can not just let the Dr free reign with your wallet. As your learning, you quickly decide how important that $600 prescription really is and what are other options. I also had high dollar brand name prescriptions, they are all gone now for much cheaper options. I’ve even bought Rxs from overseas pharmacies, once Obama said they would not enforce laws banning imports from Canada. You’ve been in the program 6 weeks and you’ve already consumed more than a thousand dollars worth of healthcare.

    • Hamer –

      Agree that we’re spending our health $$ faster than a drunken sailor on liberty.
      That wasn’t our intent when we switched to an HSA- During Open Season I combed through our medicine cabinet and made a spreadsheet based on what Aetna advertised each and every Rx would cost under their plan. I did this by test-driving Aetna using the ‘federal3’ username and password they published during Open Season.
      Due to either my lack of attention to detail or by the intentional design of their website, some of the name brand drugs I shopped during the Test Drive ended up being MUCH more expensive, as the prices they showed on the Test Drive did not make it clear that this would be the price you pay for the Rx AFTER you’ve alredy burned through your $3,0000 deductible.
      I’ve got the screen grabs etc to show what was either my oversight or their deliberate omission… it will be an upcoming post where I will let the reader decide.
      Thanks for reading GubMints!

    • Hamer –

      I’ve posted an update regarding how I got in to this mess of very-high $$ value brand-name prescriptions:

      Would love to hear who you are using for Cannuck Pharmacy and what the mechanics are to get an Rx filled through them.

  2. Pingback: FEHB Aetna HDHP/HSA Cost Update - March | GubMints

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