Managing your health care costs

Using your health plans wisely can have an impact on your wallet as well as on your overall well-being

A smiling woman looks in the mirror at her teeth after her dentist has cleaned them


The decisions we make each day about our health—such as eating well, exercising regularly, keeping up-to-date on annual checkups and preventive visits, and managing stress—can make a big difference in our overall well-being. And on our wallets, too.

Staying informed and using your health plans wisely can have an impact. For example, choosing the best medical option for you and your family, using in-network providers, requesting generic prescriptions when available, and participating in tax-advantageous spending accounts are all ways to keep costs in check.

Review your health plan options

The university's health care options are not changing for 2022, but be sure to review them during Annual Enrollment so that your decisions are informed and you're making the most of your benefits. You will be choosing from the following medical plans:

  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Plan
  • EHP Classic Point-of-Service (POS) Plan
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)
  • Kaiser Permanente Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)

Keep in mind that the BlueChoice HMO (available to current participants only) will be phased out as of January 2023 for non-bargaining employees. It will continue to be available for bargaining unit employees. If you participate in this option, you will hear more about this change in the months ahead.

If you choose to waive medical coverage, you will be eligible for the annual waiver credit of $800 if your salary is $40,000 or less, or $500 if your salary is more than $40,000.

You can continue to choose from two dental options:

  • Delta Dental Standard
  • Delta Dental Enhanced Plan

If you do not make a new election, your current dental coverage will continue for 2022. Keep in mind that the Enhanced Dental Plan option provides higher coverage for basic and major services and is the only option that covers orthodontia services.

What to know about the HDHP

The HDHP works much like a traditional medical plan; however, the ability to participate in a health savings account, or HSA, makes it unique. While the HDHP has a higher annual deductible ($1,750 per person/$3,500 per two or more people in-network) than JHU's other medical options, you are eligible to participate in a special tax-advantaged HSA that allows you to set aside funds on a before-tax basis to help fund your deductible and other out-of-pocket costs.

The HSA offers several advantages:

JHU contributions

If you earn $60,000 a year or less, JHU will make a contribution to your HSA to help offset the higher deductible. The amount of the annual contribution will depend on your pay band as follows:

  • $40,000 or less band: $500 single/$1,000 family
  • $40,001 to $60,000 band: $250 single/$500 family

The JHU contribution will be fully funded in January 2022 following Annual Enrollment. If you are newly eligible for coverage and elect the HDHP after Annual Enrollment, the JHU contribution will be prorated.

You can contribute pre-tax dollars

In addition, you can contribute to your HSA on a pre-tax basis: in 2022, up to $3,650 per individual and up to $7,300 per family (including the JHU contribution). You can adjust your contribution amount anytime throughout the year.

The HSA is triple-tax-advantaged

  • Contributions to the account are tax-free.
  • Funds, and any applicable dividends or interest, accumulate tax-free.
  • Distributions used for qualified expenses are tax-free.

Be sure to review your options and consider whether the HDHP might be right for you this year.


It's important for you to understand your benefits so you can make the right choices for yourself and your family. ALEX, JHU's interactive decision support tool, acts as a virtual benefits counselor to help you learn more about your JHU benefits options so that you can choose what's best for you.

ALEX is easy to use—just visit and log in to learn more about your medical options and watch informational videos. Then be sure to visit ALEX again in October for help selecting the best plan for you. ALEX will ask you a few short questions about your family status and health care usage, calculate your potential out-of-pocket costs under each option, and make recommendations to help you choose a medical plan. All your responses are completely confidential.

Posted in Benefits+Perks

Tagged hr newswire