Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Insurance: A Primer (Part One of Many)

Having been the chief procurer of our family's health insurance for the past 27 years, I am somewhat of an expert in the field. Today, I wish to pass on my vast knowledge.

When the hubs started his business in 1983, we needed to buy health insurance. Let's back up a minute, we didn't NEED to buy health insurance, we chose to purchase it because it was the responsible thing to do.

I called around and the broker at Blue Cross gave me some very wise advice. He said, "The purpose of health insurance isn't to pay for all of your health care, but to cover major medical issues (surgeries, cancer, etc.) that would quickly turn into a hardship. "We have lots of plans," he went on, "Your job is to figure out the amount that you could come up with in a year if there was a major illness in your family. If you choose a policy that covers everything, the premiums will be much higher."

We chose a high deductible (I believe around $2,000 at the time). We opted out of maternity coverage. Our last three babies were "cash and carry babies". I stayed one night in the hospital. I could have stayed as long as I wanted, but when you are paying, you think twice.

In order to purchase health insurance, we chose to NOT do other things. We gave up major purchases, drove older cars, took fewer vacations, bought and did less stuff.

So, lesson one. Health insurance is not designed to cover all health care needs. It should be just what it says, insurance for when the tough times come.

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