My employer’s benefit year starts on October 1st and continues through to September 30th of the following year. With the close of the benefit year a few weeks ago, I thought it would be interesting to look and see how much health care our family consumed last year.
Let’s see what I found.
Meeting Our Deductibles
The first thing I noticed is that we met both individual and family deductibles early during the benefit year. While we were in Spain for the first two and a half months, once we returned it didn’t take to resume our health care consumption. You can see the effect of our trip with very low consumption during the first part of the graph.
The first milestone was the race to meet individual deductibles. My plan has an individual deductible of $6,500. Within two weeks of getting home, Dependent #1 had burned through over half of their individual deductible. Would they be the first to meet the individual deductible? Alas, no. Dependent #2 leapfrogged into first place, meeting their individual deductible by January 21st, 2020.
The next milestone was the family deductible of $13,000. We reached this milestone on March 11th, right when the pandemic got into full swing. This time, a third dependent, Dependent #3 stepped in to bump us over the line.
Here’s a graph of meeting our deductibles looked like in 2020:
Total Healthcare Consumption
Once we hit the family deductible, our out-of-pocket limit was hit and we were done paying for healthcare for the rest of the year. But that didn’t mean our health care consumption as a family stopped. Here’s a graph demonstrating the continued consumption throughout the year. The yellow line is what our health reimbursement account (HRA) paid out, which roughly lines up with our deductibles. The blue line is what our medical providers billed and the red line is how much our insurance paid out, after marking down provider bills by the contract discount.
Some general observations:
- Over 70% of the total expense was in prescriptions
- Usually Dependent #1 consumes the most. While Dependent #1’s consumption was on par for previous years, Dependent #2 consumed twice as much as Dependent #1 and over half of the total amount for the family. Highly unusual and shouldn’t repeat in 2021. I hope.
- I likely won’t be retiring too early, not as long as I have dependents like these 🙂
Comparing to 2019
Was 2020 an aberration? Do we always consume that much? Do we always hit our deductible that early in the year?
The answers are: mostly, no and no.
Here’s the graph of how we met our deductibles in 2019:
In 2019, Dependent #1 met the individual deductible on April 12th, two and half months later than 2020. Our family deductible wasn’t met until the second week of July, nearly four months later than 2020.
And here’s our total medical consumption during 2019:
The bumps in the graph are from Dependent #2, and can also be seen in the 2020 graph. You can see where we let our health insurance know we’d be on an extended vacation, enabling us to load up on the necessary supplies and prescriptions before heading to Spain.
2020 has been an unforgettable year in many respects. For our family, our medical expenses in 2020 probably exceeded any prior year and hopefully any future year.
How much health care did you and your loved ones consume this year? I’d love to hear about it.