Friday, March 13, 2009

Uncertain Health (Off-Topic)

We are facing a bit of a dilemma regarding our health care coverage....and I was curious to hear how others might view this trade-off.

Mr. BT has coverage (which changed recently), so that we don't pay any monthly premiums, BUT the annual deductible is high, $3,000 per person (up to $9,000 per family).

I could get Kaiser through work, which would run us around $2,600 a year.

We have average health for our ages (some allergies etc.). So it boils down to, we could be certain to pay $2,600 or potentially pay between $0 - $9,000 a year. I am very risk averse, so I lean toward Kaiser (which I have had good experiences with in the past). But Mr. BT is leaning the other way.


Alek Davis said...

For young singles or healthy married couples without kids, I would take a risk and go with high deductible. But if you have kids (I think you do), I would go with Kaiser. Annual $2,600 is not that much for peace of mind (I think my annual contribution to Kaiser is about $4K for a family of four; btw, I often hear people complaining about Kaiser, but I like it).

Deflationary Jane said...

not all Kaiser areas are equal.

The network in the BA is awful but the sacramento network has been terrific. KP wasn't so hot in the mid 90s but they seriously expended their staffing and facilities. My friend's mother is relocating here from the BA and they are all excited because they insist that Kaiser here is heads and toes over where they are coming from.

Bu then again, Kaiser has been great to me over the last 8 yrs.

jack said...

Why not do a combination. You and your children for roughly $1600 and then your husband on the other plan with a worst case scenario of $3000 for his coverage. Best case scenario is the $1600 worst is $4600 estimated. Your can get the everyday care needed for your child and potentially save money on your husbands plan as long as he stays healthy.

Sold in '05 said...

One of the major reasons that we relocated from the northeast was my company was going to "High Deductible Health Care". The company pitched it as the greatest thing since sliced bread but as people started actually doing the numbers, it was not all sunshine and roses. It sounded very similar to your husband's plan. Turned out that after the deductible was paid THEN came a 80/20 copay period for something like the next $6000 per person and $12k per family. THEN the plan paid 100% for the rest of the year.

So here's the scenario... Older folks (over 40 (I'm still 39)) use a heart attack followed by bypass surgery but for the sake of us youngsters... I'll use a major car accident. You've gone all year without so much as a sniffle or stubbing your toe, then driving home from a Christmas Eve dinner you and your family are blindsided by a drunken sleigh driving elf. An ambulance ride and later helicopter medivac followed by multiple emergency surgeries and everyone is stable but in ICU. This maxes out your out of pocket expenses right at the end of the year. Now come early Jan of the next year, you and your injured family members need several followup surgeries to make things right that couldn't be handled under emergency conditions right after the accident. So here we are just a couple of weeks after paying the full year out of pocket expenses in Dec and now we owe another full years worth of out of pocket. So in two months it would be fairly easy to rack up way more than $20,000 in bills with no other relief in sight.

My wife has multiple health issues and kids will be kids. I myself love to eat bad for you crap and then go out and do strenuous exercise. So the high deductible plans really don't suit us. But like someone else said, if you're young, have no children, aren't prone to unexpected pregnancies, and utilize a Health Savings Account (which are usually bundled with these type plans) you can over many years make a pretty good investment out of it. But any way you slice it, it IS a gamble. The only people who are guaranteed to benefit from these plans are the corporations that are forcing them onto their employees.

Good luck.



After reading your new home buying experience and much obsessive market analysis, I may soon need to change my identity. We contracted this past week for a freshly poured slab here at Westpark in Roseville. Delivery is expected in July and we can cancel up to two weeks after framing is complete. I'm just about scared sh#!less, but like so many of you guys I'm just sick of renting and we can actually afford this place now. So as so many former Darwin Award contestants have said before... hold my beer and watch this.

ahardy said...

Go with Kaiser. Honestly you never know what's going to happen. As a perfectly healthy 30 year old who just had a stroke, I can say honestly that stuff happens that you can't control. Thank goodness I had good health insurance. Throwing down an extra 3 grand right now doesn't sound like fun.

PeonInChief said...

Go with Kaiser. It's not much more than $200 a month. And Kaiser tends to be very good at the things you're most likely to use (pediatrics, allergy management).

Buying Time said...

Thanks so much for the advise. I am very partial toward Kaiser. We can't prorate our premiums, it's either just me, or the entire family. But we may be able to keep Mr. BTs insurance as a backup in case Kaiser isn't performing in a particular situation.

Sold in '05 - You neatly laid out my biggest fear...and our health insurance is the same the whole 80/20 after the deductible. If we have some unfortunate turn of events, we could lose an enormous chunk of our rainy day fund. (GBTWE - Congrats on the contract...we have been thrillled with our new home purchase experience...way way better than going after distressed).

NeuronNerd said...

On the other side: I get that you could be out a lot of money if something bad happens. However, if something bad happens, how much control do you want to have over where you get care? I work for what is basically an HMO (it's not Kaiser), and I will say for run of the mill stuff it's fine. However, if you have something unusual or out of the ordinary, or "big" wouldn't you want the option of going to (say) UCSF or Stanford to see the regional expert or the guy with the best numbers (for surgical cases)? Chances are good you'll never need it, but if you do...