Buying Health Insurance

Some of you who are Facebook friends may remember a post I made back on May 10th:

“You know it’s true love when your partner offers to pay for your health insurance that you can’t afford on your PA salary.”

Needless to say, I got about a dozen Likes on that one. And it was true. My health insurance through my parents that was extended under Obamacare was going to be up at the end of August. Andy is incredibly nervous about going without health insurance. Because of his Crohn’s he takes a medication that without insurance would cost around $400 a month and goes through a myriad of tests every year ranging from blood work to colonoscopies. All of it would add up to a lot of money if it weren’t for his health insurance. 
So we bought me health insurance about a month ago and I wanted to give you a quick play-by-play of what went into our decision making and how we settled with what we got.
We used the website that I tell everyone in the market for health insurance to use: This website is amazing because it has all the plans available in your area and you can sort them all by how high a deductible you want to pay and the monthly cost and the particular coverage you want. (See this post for health insurance vocabulary basics.)

You answer a brief questionnaire that includes questions about Health Savings Accounts, if you want prescription coverage, if you want maternity coverage, etc and then it narrows down the 100 or so choices to 10 or less. 

Our biggest concern was out-of-pocket expenses in the form of the deductible and the monthly premiums (as is almost every one’s concern). We knew my attention to my health meant I wouldn’t need frequent doctor’s visits, but we wanted some coverage in case of a crazy accident or if something weird started happening. Last year I experienced some weird pain in my right side that went on for over 6 months before my doctors (I had to see 3 and a massage therapist) decided I had costochondritis aka a swelling in the cartilage between my ribs and I had to go on an ibuprofen regimen and work on strengthening my core muscles. This got worked out over about 6 doctors visits, an x-ray, 2 massage sessions and a big bottle of ibuprofen. All covered by my parents’ insurance.

We wanted something that could cover something weird like this and looked at 8 plans. Many had deductibles at or over $5000, which was way more than we wanted to spend in a year on out-of-pocket expenses. But the $500 deductible plan was $300 a month, way more than we wanted to spend on that. We narrowed it down to 2 plans, both with Regence, one with a $2500 deductible at $143 a month and the other with a $3000 deductible at $125 a month.

After some hemming and hawing we settled on the $143/month plan with the $2500 deductible. We knew we could afford $143 a month and if worst came to worst we could also afford $2500 a year in medical expenses.

People have asked me given Andy is in such a strong union, why didn’t I join his union’s plan?

A. We’re not married and don’t plan to be until we can afford our dream wedding.
B. More importantly, it’s $300 a month for your spouse and the coverage is limited at best.

One other important thing about this plan, we went into to it not planning to get a plan that could cover pregnancy since we don’t plan to start having kids for another 5-7 years, but this one comes with pregnancy coverage. I realize this is great because in the unlikely event we get pregnant (I get pregnant? I have no idea what is PC for this anymore) finding a plan that is reasonable while I’m already pregnant would be impossible. Pregnancy can no longer be discriminated against for a pre-existing condition, but coverage is still expensive and there is no way we could pay hospital bills and doctor’s visits out-of-pocket.

Coverage starts on October 1st for me! I am so grateful for this gift from Andy. I’m getting mushy here but his words were, “you’re health is important to me because I want you to be healthy so we can live a long time together”. Aw. I may have teared up at that.

So that was my experience! Not totally heinous, but not super easy. We’re lucky we walked away without having to give up a firstborn as it seems some health care companies want now.

Anyone in the market for health insurance? Do you like your current coverage? What do you wish was different about it?

This entry was posted in budgeting, choices, health insurance. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Buying Health Insurance

  1. During our wedding this was one of Gabe's vows: "I will never allow us to go without food, shelter, and medical care. You'll never be without medical insurance." This caused a few chuckles, ours included, but he was sincere, and it's a dead serious promise.

  2. Verhanika says:

    I love it! What a great idea.

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