United Healthcare announced yesterday that, from an insurance company perspective, Obamacare isn’t going to be in their long term planning. Of course at this point, depending on next year’s election, it may not be on anyone’s long term planning. What do you do with that kind of information? There is a substantial percentage of those eligible for ACA that have chosen to take care of their health care just like they always have and take a wait and see attitude. From the tone of the press release that may even be the case with United Health.
However the health care conundrum plays out in the years to come two things seem fairly certain, 1. There will be health care offered that is to some extent offered or shoved down our throats by the government and 2. There will likely be an open enrollment period, a forced incentive to buy NOW. What won’t be offered is a chance to slow down, think things through and do your unpressured due diligence in analyzing your health care options.
The very idea of bucking the system leaves many too uncertain about what will happen to do anything but give in to the deadlines and make some kind of decision, comfortable or not, prudent or not, wise or not. The two concerns that drive that are government retribution for not caving into pressure and the idea of not having some kind of health care in place. Needless to say the government “of the people” is not under the control of “we the people”, but what is under your control is the ability to have affordable major medical health insurance and not the kind of major medical that has such a high deductible that it makes no sense to be paying premiums at all, but health insurance with deductibles as low as $100 per year and limits as high as $1 million per year.
While pre existing conditions are always going to be a gotcha in medical insurance, let me share a brief history of the last 15 years for my wife and I (mostly me). 2002 back surgery for me, $22,000. 2005 broken leg for me with ensuing staph infection, $55,000. 2007 ovarian cancer (thank God encapsulated) for my wife, $75,000 with the recommended hysterectomy. Testing over the years for both of us to rule out things like MS for my wife and heart problems and cancer for me, $25,000. 2011 broken arm for me, $25,000. 2012 broken heel for me, $9,000. 2015 Vertigo for me with an emergency room visit and testing, $3,500. Recent follow up tests to monitor my heart and esophagus, $4,000. We’re not hypochondriacs and actually avoid getting care for those things we think we can grit our teeth through. We’ve been blessed to belong to a Christian health care cooperative (major medical) that has reimbursed most of the big bills after we’ve self paid them.
But the alternative for other is here and available at reasonable prices. You pick your deductible from $100 a year to $5000 a year and the health insurance pays 100% of major medical costs up to $1 million. Imagine a brush with cancer of some sort that leaves a treatment bill of $200,000 and your out of pocket expense is $100. That broken leg and infection that I had in 2005 would easily be $250,000 today and my out of pocket expense would be whatever deductible I chose, whether $250 or $2500. There is choice!
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