Friday, March 31, 2006

Beware the Fine (and not so fine) Print

Sometimes, seemingly insignificant policy provisions can bite you. Case in point:
Recently, two of my individual HSA clients, each insured with a different carrier, came up for renewal. I suggested that we find new policies, and lower premiums. We looked around, and determined that the (relatively new) Aetna HDHP would fit the bill nicely, and so we submitted applications.
Pretty routine so far.
And then, my co-blogger Bob (in an unrelated email and subsequent post) pointed out that these plans have an internal limit of $5,000 a year for out-patient prescription drugs.
“So what?” you may ask, “I’m not on any meds that even come close to that!”
I would reply that we buy insurance for what might happen, not (just) what did happen.
Which is pretty much what I told both of these clients when I called them yesterday for permission to withdraw their applications. Both have family plans, and relatively healthy families to go on those plans. But new cases of MS (for example) are diagnosed every day. Cancer, too. Other chronic (and expensively medicated) illnesses, as well. A person with MS would blow through that $5,000 is a couple of months, and then what?
To my surprise (and delight), neither client was upset with me for suggesting that we go back to square one; in fact, they were both pleased that I’d alerted them to this potential problem.
So what’s my point?
Well, for one thing, would the anonymous voice at the other end of an 800 number (or web-site) be concerned about this? Or call (or email) back to suggest a different solution?
For another, it’s a reminder to me that what we do for our clients is important, and that I do (and should) learn knew things every day.
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