Affordable Health Insurance?!?

Affordable health insurance?!?  In keeping with the Texas educators theme, last fall I spoke with a local high school teacher who told me that she and her high school coach husband were paying $1,540 a month for the Active Care 3 family policy which I detailed in the last few posts. I did the math and quickly figured that for 2014, these folks will pay $18,480 – out of their own pockets – in premiums just to have health insurance coverage for themselves and their two children.

I wanted to paraphrase an old chili commercial and say “Neighbor, how much are you paying for your health insurance? Well, that’s too much!” I didn’t get to though, because when I told her what I pay for my health insurance, she almost threw up.

But then in January I was horrified to learn that my premium would be going up. I mean, it’s not like my policy had changed – I’ve had the same $2,500 deductible with 25% coinsurance for years. I’m 45, I’ve had asthma my whole life, and I also take cholesterol medication. But since my policy was “grandfathered” in under the Affordable Care Act, and pre-existing conditions aren’t supposed to matter any more, I felt like I was immune to any rate hikes.

So when Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas decided to raise my premiums from $150 a month to $157 a month (or from $450 to $471 a quarter), it made me blink. Twice.

 

All sarcasm aside, my point is that affordable health insurance exists. You can find it. I did. But I focused my search on a reasonable health insurance policy that only covers major expenses. It never even crossed my mind to buy a plan that covers, well, everything. And yes, although I do realize that my high deductible and coinsurance might put me on the hook for a lot of money in any given year, I would emphasize the word might.

I might win the lottery this year too. But I’m not betting on it (literally), and neither will I put good money down just to ensure that all my healthcare expenses will be paid by someone else. Instead, I’ll assume that risk myself, thank you, set aside a portion of the substantial money saved to fund my pre-tax, Health Savings Account, and pocket the rest.

You can, too. It just requires a change of attitude, say to something like this:

There are some things health insurance should buy. For everything else, there’s credit cards.

Indeed.

Remember, It’s not the COSTS of healthcare that are outrageous…it’s the CHARGES.

Physician. Health Insurance Agent. Author. Health care humorist. Medical satirist. Disruptor. At your service.

My name is Kevin Wacasey, and I’ve been practicing medicine since 1994. When I graduated from medical school, I took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm. But since health insurance took over health care over 40 years ago, health care prices have skyrocketed. And despite what we’re told by the media every day, it isn’t the costs of health care that are outrageous; it’s the charges. So if you’ve ever wondered why we spend so much on health insurance and health care, then come along and join me as I explore the crazy world of Healthcareonomics. Health care doesn’t have to be expensive. Let me show you how. For speaking opportunities and to pass along your questions/comments, please email me at drw@healthcareonomics.com.

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