Thursday, August 14, 2008


It's been a while since I've ranted about health insurance, and the truth is, no matter how hard one tries to quantify the real costs of healthcare in this country, the information just isn't as available and accessible as it could (or should) be. But I am not deterred!

Back in March, I estimated that premium and deductible costs for my family of four would be:

$10,744 (employers/estimated); $2,440 (us): total premiums $13,184

I have since updated this figure to:

$10,744 (employers/estimated); $2,530 (us): total premiums $13,274

We met our deductible a few months ago, and are therefore blessedly no longer paying out of pocket at full freight. God bless co-pays! I've been keeping very careful track of our expenditures, and right now the scorecard is:

Year-to-date retail costs: roughly $9,000*

Our out of pocket service costs: $3,500

Now, granted I'm tired and on prednisone, but doesn't it look as though the combined premium costs of $13,274 has only bought us a $5,500 reduction from the full retail costs? Roughly?

Health insurance what?

*It is nigh impossible to estimate true retail costs for various reasons, not the least of which being that they simply WON'T TELL YOU the true cost. Also, the health insurance company negotiates a discount for lots of services and meds. $9,000 represents a generous estimate of our full retail costs to date.


Anonymous said...

Health insurance sucks; not having health insurance sucks more. The current system is quite simply broken. Unfortunately, a fix for this broken system is far from a simple thing.


Magpie said...

it's broken. it's nuts and it's broken.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

It has to become a middle class issue for it to change.

If only Ted Kennedy had realized what Jimmy Carter put on the table a few decades ago -- we'd have somewhat socialized care by now.

Tina said...

Oh, lordy. I hate this stuff. I have to go through all of our medical expenses for the year, match bills to explanations of benefits, and I keep putting it off because thinking about it makes my head hurt. And doing it will make my typically low blood pressure soar. I'm afraid to look at it at all. How do you keep up with it without going off the deep end?

RuthWells said...

Tina, who says I HAVEN'T gone off the deep end?.... ; )

Bob said...

Hi, Ruth. As someone whose family often "wins" at this insurance game, I feel compelled to point out that coming out ahead isn't exactly the goal here. Personally, I'd consider it a good thing if we were healthy enough that I didn't feel I was getting my money's worth out of my health insurance.

RuthWells said...

Your point is well taken, Bob. Of course, I don't wish we were using the insurance more heavily. What frosts me is that the insurance industry is making a fortune in profits on most participants' backs, while often delaying and denying coverage for those who are truly in need.

My overall objection to the insurance industry is that it exists not to provide insurance, but to make a profit. Until this shifts, I'm afraid the system is going to stay broken for a very long time.