Remember this post? The post where I decide I was fed up paying crazy expensive health insurance premiums and switch to a cheaper but suckier plan? I just wanted to follow up because it’s been 8 months since that post. So did I make the switch? Yes. I received a letter informing me that my premiums would go up $200 to $1650 a month. That wasn’t a surprise. My premiums have been going up roughly 15% every year, but what had been a marginally manageable bill was becoming an increasingly unaffordable monthly expense.
So what’s happened in the 8 months since I made the switch?
This is what I anticipated. We remained healthy and went to the doctor just a few times for minor checkups.
But I have an extra $5000 in the bank from the $600 that I am saving every month by switching to a cheaper plan. I don’t touch this money except to pay for other health related expenses like visits to the dentist (we don’t have dental insurance). I’ll keep building on this money and eventually pay for things like braces for the girls and other medical bills that might crop up. The money is for nothing else since we have a higher deductible and insane out of pocket maximums. You can plan for some things, but you can’t plan for everything.
You can say that I came out ahead so far and the decision was a smart one, and yet I can’t help but still feel a bit unsettled. It’s still a gamble.
This year a close friend of mine got diagnosed with early stage cancer. She’s fine now and thankfully had excellent healthcare and excellent insurance through her partner, but it did make me think about a lot of things as I witnessed the diagnosis and treatment process with her. It made me realize that had it been me, if I had been diagnosed with cancer, my treatment and medical bills would have been a different story. That maybe I would have had to make certain decisions based on costs, rather than the best healthcare that I could find. That I might have bills that would have wiped away our entire savings. Is it fair? Hardly.
Recently my mom had to undergo a myriad of medical tests. It all came out negative, thankfully, however she thought twice about taking these tests because she wasn’t confident that her insurance would pay for it. They’ve failed her in the past, but her doctors urged her that she couldn’t wait. My parents are in their mid-60s, have paid their fair share in taxes (more, I’d say), and have always had to pay for private insurance because they are small business owners like us. Is it fair that their MRIs and certain hospital bills get routinely rejected by insurance? No.
It’s still a gamble, isn’t it?