UC Open Enrollment - ditching Blue & Gold. Which Plan?

Hello.  I figure there would be some UC parents here.  This is the year we are finally ditching UC Blue and Gold.  It is a tough and scary choice as we previously knew exactly what our costs would be and it was a reasonable amount.  But so many doctors have left and Brown and Toland is requiring us to travel all over the Bay Area for care as they are too cheap to pay for care close to home.  We see a number of specialists and are heavy users so we need something easy.  So we are deciding between UC Care and UC Health Savings Plan (Kaiser is out of the question.  Been there done that).  We are leaning toward UC Care because despite its cost and lack of an accompanying HSA to take the edge off, the costs appear somewhat more predictable than UC Health Savings Plan.  I'm wondering if anyone else has made this jump and had any positive or negative surprises with either plan.  Thanks!

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We also had blue and gold and hated it, couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a doctor nearby.

Not sure what your salary level is because that plays into the premium cost benefit analysis. We chose the HSA, because for us, even if we met our super high deductible every year it would still be cheaper than the sky high premiums that uc care requires. However it is extremely unpleasant to pay huge out of pocket bills for the first months of the year. I’d say we are medium utilizers and really like to have our choice of doctors, and have been mostly satisfied with the plan so far. If you’re a very heavy utilizer, then uc care might be better. None of the options are stellar unfortunately. Best of luck in your decision!

Curious to know why you aren't considering Kaiser--we switched from Blue and Gold before our kids were born and have never looked back. The single biggest benefit has been how predictable (and minimal) the costs are, and the integration and proximity of care is huge. (We are in Oakland so of course that helps a lot, but the new Berkeley Kaiser has expanded options for friends there as well.) It might be worth taking another look, especially if your Kaiser experience was many years ago. (The caveat, of course, is that if you need specialty care that Kaiser does not offer, it can be a pain to work out of their network--but we have found that, with the notable exception of mental health, their Oakland-based specialist bench is pretty deep and easy to get referrals for compared to our previous non-Kaiser plans.)

I have UC Care and prefer it because the costs are more predictable.  I have a chronic health condition that requires labs/imaging several times a year.  It seems like Health Savings Plans are suited for people who usually only need for preventative care.  


Have you considered switching medical groups with UC Blue and Gold? I'm in Hill Physicians and have been able to continue to see my same doctor (through One Medical) and have most of my referrals to facilities in Berkeley or Oakland. (A couple have been to UCSF in Mission Bay, which is really not that far away.) I had been on my husband's PPO, so I was worried my options for specialists would be much more limited, but so far have been pleasantly surprised. It helps that I really love and trust my PCP. 

As an aside, I was on the UC Health Saving Plan (or equivalent) years ago when my daughter was born. It was a nightmare having to keep all the costs straight -- I got so many bills from so many different providers. Plus it was so much money out of pocket for the delivery! Was much easier when my son was born (on an HMO) -- $250 and done! I think the HSA plans are best for people who rarely go to the doctor.

Good luck!