Monday, September 10, 2012

Health Insurance--A Necessary Evil?

Well, I believe I mentioned last week about how much our health insurance went up. This, of course happened at the same time as several other trials (can stuff just stop breaking? Nah! That'd mean you wouldn't need to buy new stuff and companies can't have that hurting their bottom lines!).

Anyway, I'll admit we seriously considered just going without health insurance period. I know some people are paying more than we are, but our share (with my hubby's employer paying half) is a little over $606 a month. The prescription benefits are crappy, our individual deductible is $1,000, the family deductible is $3,000 and honestly we just try not to use it unless it's for preventative because co-pays have gone up to $30 for a regular doctor and $50 for specialists. Our daughter's dislocated elbow that took 3 seconds to fix in the ER cost us $250. Yeah....not pretty.

We did try to qualify for UPP, but they've made it so difficult. Even though we met all the main criteria, we didn't qualify simply because we've already had the employer's insurance, so even if it was a new enrollment period and they had moved to a new plan (at a much higher rate) they said we'd have to not be on the employer's insurance before new enrollment starts and apply again during the next enrollment, period. Of all the stupid stipulations I've heard! Seriously?

But when it came down to it, we just couldn't make the jump to no insurance. Still, we can't afford to keep our current insurance. So we did some research down different avenues and ultimately decided to go out on our own with a high deductible plan with a Health Savings Account. We found a good agent who's helped us figure out the pros and cons of each plan and guided us in the right direction.

Our kids will be going on CHIP (something we'd never have even considered before the economy tanked). It'll take 90 days before they can go on it after our insurance is cancelled, which does make us a little nervous. We prefer the IHC facilities though and they have a financial assistance program for those who need it, so if an emergency occurs, we'll have to take advantage of that.

I haven't heard good things about State dental insurance, so we'll be getting our own plan for that too, for the whole family. Overall, this route is going to save us almost $400/month. That's nothing to sneeze at, for sure. We'll be able to find a use for that money easily!

I'll be honest that it's a little embarrassing to share some of these hardships with everyone here. There's always the chance that we'll be judged and found lacking. Oh well. I can't let my pride stop me from helping others out there who might need this information for their own families. We never asked for these things to happen. Five years ago we were living well and doing fine financially. Things changed--for a lot of people. We just have to make the best of it and survive how we can, I guess.

I am thankful though that my husband has been able to keep his job, even if his hours have significantly decreased. I know that there are those who have flat-out lost their jobs and their homes. We've managed, through the grace of God, to retain both. It's a miracle that with Bank of America's track record at the time of only 3% of people applying for the the government loan modifications receiving them, that we got a successful modification (not that I didn't fight tooth and nail for it~ Hah!).

So this will be a new experience for us. We prayed a lot before deciding on this course and I feel like we're making the right decision. Time will tell where it will go.