benefitsFOCUS: Open Enrollment Essentials – What Is a High Deductible Medical Plan & Is It for Me?

Open Enrollment origami banner

Open Enrollment (November 1-15) starts next week! Have you considered comparing our medical plans to see which plan is best for you? In yesterday’s Compass post, we highlighted the differences between our medical plan options. Today, we’re going to focus on the plan that may be least familiar to you: our Albemarle Choice plan, a high deductible medical plan that also comes with a Health Savings Account (HSA). Deciding between our traditional plan (Albemarle Select) and the Albemarle Choice plan basically comes down to:

  • Do you want to spend more money on premiums (the amount you have taken out of your pay for the coverage) to have lower out of pocket costs if and when you seek services?
  • Or, do you want to spend less money on premiums, knowing that you’ll have higher out of pocket costs if and when you seek services?

Some good things to know:

  • BOTH plans cover the same exact services.
  • BOTH plans cover preventive services, like annual physicals, eligible screening exams, and eligible preventive medications.
  • BOTH plans have an out of pocket maximum that limits how much you will pay out of pocket during the plan year.

So what’s the big difference between the two plans? Besides the difference in premiums, the Albemarle Choice plan comes with an HSA!

What is an HSA?

An HSA is an account that comes with our Albemarle Choice plan; you use the funds in the account to pay for your out of pocket costs on the plan. The HSA is also a tax-advantaged savings plan that you can use to pay for future retiree healthcare expenses. If you are on the Choice Plan for the entirety of 2024, ACPS will contribute the following into your HSA over the course of the year:

Full-Time employees (working at or above 70% part-time):

  • Individual coverage: $1,272 annually
  • Individual plus dependents: $2,232 annually

Part-Time employees (working 50-69% part-time):

  • Individual coverage: $890 annually
  • Individual plus dependents: $1,562 annually

You can also contribute to your HSA, up to the IRS maximum for the year. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, so as long as you use them for eligible expenses, you’re never taxed on the funds! Contributions in your HSA are always yours, even if you leave your ACPS employment.

Want to learn more? Check out this short video: What is a Health Savings Account?

Can anyone have an HSA?

While you must be enrolled in an high deductible medical plan (like our Albemarle Choice plan) to have an HSA, there are some people who cannot make or receive HSA contributions:

  • You cannot be covered on another non-high deductible medical plan.
  • You cannot be on Medicare or Medicaid.
  • You and your spouse cannot have a traditional healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) while you have an HSA. (We offer a Limited Purpose FSA for those on the Albemarle Choice Plan.)

Where can I learn more about my Open Enrollment options?

We’ve got tons of great information about your benefits options on our Open Enrollment info page.

Remember: Open Enrollment is the only time during the year when you can make any change you want to your medical, dental or vision plans (or enroll in a Flexible Spending Account for 2024), and it’s only available November 1-15. Be ready! Take some time to review your benefits options, watch some videos, and use the NEW PLANselect Decision Support Tool before Open Enrollment starts so you’ll have plenty of time to ask questions or get assistance before the window closes on November 15!


Whether you have a quick question or you’d like to schedule a virtual consultation with a member of our benefits team, we’re here to help! You can reach us by email at or give us a call at 434-296-5827.