Thursday, June 14, 2012

Health Insurance

Lots of people wonder which health insurance plan they should choose at their company.  Others wonder if they can afford the monthly premiums deducted from their checks.  Still others wish they even had a choice.

Then there's me.  Sitting on a blog, trying to come up with a way to explain the complexities of insurance without putting you to sleep.  Or worse, confusing you.

Here are some cold hard facts about health insurance:

  • Most doctors give a cash discount for settling your bill at the time of service instead of having it billed or processed through an insurance company.  Just ask at the reception desk.
  • It costs your doctor a lot of money to process an insurance claim.  He has to hire people who specialize in specific codings and processes for multitudes of insurance companies.  Often it is months until he is paid.
  • The insurance company is a lot like "the house" in Vegas.  The odds are in the insurance company's favor.  
  • Health insurance used to be something purchased to insure against catastrophic expenses, such as major accidents or surgeries.  When people expect insurance to pay for everything, it increases the costs for everyone, including the doctors.
When it comes to making a decision about health insurance, you need to keep the following factors in mind:

  1. What medical expenses do I know I will have on a regular basis?  (ie, recurring prescriptions, bi-annual doctor visits, etc.)
  2. What is the actual retail price for those expenses?  (ie, the price without insurance)  You might be surprised to learn it is usually less than $150 to visit your doctor.  The lab tests are what will give you sticker shock.  Talk to your doctor or nurse to find out which labs in town have the lowest prices.  Walgreens now offers cholesterol screenings for only $30.
  3. How much can I afford on a monthly basis for medical costs?  This amount should include  premiums you're already paying (or planning on paying), any amount you currently set aside in an FSA or HSA, plus any extra you can devote to medical costs.
  4. What dollar amount on a medical bill would bankrupt me?  (This is the amount you want to insure against.)
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can begin to evaluate some of your decisions about health insurance.  It's all about running the numbers to see what choices help you come out ahead.

Are YOU facing difficult choices about your health insurance?  Sound off in the comments below or shoot me an email at and I'd be happy to help you!

No comments:

Post a Comment