Select Health Select Value Preference Benchmark 1500 or the Select Health Select ValuePreference 1500, which one do you pick?

When you look through the comparison of these two products they appear almost identical. Same deductible, Max Out of Pocket, Co pays for doctor visits, co pays for prescription drugs, almost everything.

So what’s the difference?

Don’t fall for the same thing I did last year (before I became a health insurance advisor) when I really didn’t know which plan to choose. I based my choice, like many people, on price. Comparing these two plans, there is usually less than a $15 difference between the two.

These two plans look the same, have the same deductibles, co-pays, etc, so why not choose the cheaper plan? No reason to pay more for the same thing, right? That’s what I said and I went with a Benchmark plan last year to save a few bucks.

Big mistake.

Although these two plans are similar, there are a few differences, but they’re not really spelled out in the Summary of Benefits. Well, they are, they’re just harder to find.

Summary of Benefits for Select Value Benchmark Silver 1500

Summary of Benefits for Select Value Silver 1500

It’s not until you get to page 4 before you start finding any differences. These deal with the length of time you get certain services for home health care or Hospice service.

For me, not a big deal since I”m only 38 and I have have a young family.

So what did I have to pay for?

The kicker for me is that the Benchmark plan does not cover preventive eye exams for adults. Didn’t know that. My wife went in for an eye exam, assuming it would be covered (cuz all health plans cover preventative care, I thought). Turns out, the Benchmark Plan doesn’t cover that. I got stuck with a $250 bill.

The cost of that one bill out weighed the cost of getting the Preference Silver 1500 plan from the get go.

I cancelled my eye exam for the following week. I’ll wait until next year when I pick the right plan and have it covered.

Turns out there are a few more things that aren’t covered on the Preference Benchmark Silver 1500 plan.

These include “durable goods” (like I know what that means). Well, it’s things you really want to have if you’re ever in the hospital. Things like wheelchairs and bedpans that make your stay just a bit nicer. Can you imagine having a hernia surgery and then given a pair of crutches to hop back to the recovery room with because your plan didn’t cover a wheelchair? Let’s not even talk about the bedpan…..

So what should I do?

Bottom line is that 99 out of 100 times you should choose the Preference Silver 1500 plan and stay away from the Benchmark plan. The price difference isn’t significant enough to out weight that “what if” chance of needing a bit better care and coverage throughout the year. Plus, the eye exam for adults more than covers the minor increase in premium. (yes, you should get your eyes checked every year, even at age 38)

For me, I’m glad I wasn’t in the hospital this year. I’m still holding off for my annual eye exam until I enroll in a “non-Benchmark” plan for 2017.

If you need help reviewing available plans or want help comparing plans, give us a call. 10-15 minutes will save you hours of sifting through these yourself.


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