Tacoma Health Insurance

Tacoma, Washington is the third largest city in the state of Washington and has a population of 200k.  In terms of different health insurance, they are pretty much identical to the rest of Washington state, and offer 5 main health insurance companies including Group Health, KPS, LifeWise, Regence Blue Shield, and Premera Blue Cross (which is currently trying to get some plan out in 2011).

So which of those 5 companies has the best Tacoma health insurance plan for the least money?  Well lets see…

I did something a little different in Tacoma and tried to set a budget of between $115-130 in premium and picked the plans that in that budget that offered the most traditional coverage.  In this kind of comparison it seems that Group Health (which also owns KPS) is the best value though not by a whole lot.

For a 35 year old male in Tacoma the Group Health plan called the Balance 2500 Catastrophic Plan is $112 per month and has only a $2500 deductible with unlimited office visits with a $30 copay.  (Every other plan in Tacoma has a limit on office visit copays and after 3 puts them towards your annual deductible and coinsurance).  The deductible is also lower than the other companies which means the benefits kick in sooner.  None of these plans have any really good prescription coverage in this class of plans but at least KPS covers generic drugs.

The second plan that I would choose was the LifeWise WiseEssentials Copay $5000 which is pretty appealing at $135 per month and has a $5k deductible and another 5k in coinsurance for a total out of pocket of 10k.  LifeWise in Tacoma also only covers 3 office visits copayments per year and has no prescription coverage.  This is indeed a very barebones plan and is definitely part of the health reform changes.  The unlimited plan benefit really forced the companies to cut benefits in order to keep premiums in the same galaxy as last year.

The KPS plan is probably tied for second place with their Centric $5000 Deductible (additional coinsurance of 6k)  but they come in 2nd place because they at least make the attempt to cover some prescriptions.  These plans are all very simple to understand because they have no real benefits until after the deductible is met and the coinsurance begins.  Here the coinsurance is expressed as 30% which means that medical expenses are covered at 30% until you pay out another 6k after the 5k deductible at which point they cover 100% of your medical bills.

In last place is the Regence Blue Shield Evolve Core which depending on your viewpoint could also be tied for 2nd (yes a three way tie) because their plan is only $125 per month.  Again no prescription coverage and only 3 office visit copayments per year however where this plan fails is its coinsurance max which is actually $7,500 meaning the maximum out of pocket is the $7,500 coinsurance plus another 5k in deductible which gives it the distinction of the highest risk plan that I evaluated.