With my birthday coming up soon, it is once again time to learn what my health insurance premiums will be for the coming year. My policy renews automatically each year and I have nothing to do but make sure that the premiums are ALWAYS paid on time. As long as I stay paid-up, the insurance company cannot drop me as a customer although I've become expensive for them.
Since I am self-employed, I have an individual health insurance policy. I obtained it 11 years ago when I shopped for the very best coverage available to me. At the age of 32, my monthly premiums were $151 for a 'preferred provider' plan. My copays are $25 for any doctor's visit; my coinsurance for covered services is only 10%; my deductible is a small $100; and my out-of-pocket maximum for medical care is $2500. My prescription coverage is limited to $1500 each year, however.
Over the years, my insurance premiums have increased at varying percentages. Last year the increase was 8.4% and this year it is 7.7%. In 2009, the increase was 31%. That was outrageous!!
So this coming year, my monthly premium will be $503. That's a total of $6036 for the year. I have to earn $9000 to cover that expense after taxes.
I was curious about what my same policy would cost a new customer, so I ran a simple search on my insurance company's website. For a medically underwritten plan such as my own, a perfectly healthy person would be charge $516 monthly. Just a tad bit more than I pay now.
My insurance company also offers HIPAA insurance plans for people who may be on a COBRA extension of group coverage and need to transition to an individual policy. The HIPAA plans are much more expensive because they bypass medical underwriting and will cover patients with pre-existing conditions. The HIPAA version of my same insurance plan carries monthly premiums of $1260.
Can you imagine paying $15,210 each year for insurance coverage?!! I can't. This is the most expensive plan offered by my insurance company.
Looking at numbers like that just reinforces how important it is that I DO NOT LOSE my health insurance coverage no matter what. It would be too risky to switch to something else. I'm locked in for the long haul.
Maybe it helps to think of the $503 monthly check as not just current medical coverage, but insurance against having access to insurance for years to come. At least that helps me feel somewhat better about the cost.
How about you? What is your monthly health insurance premium and what does it cover? What are your copays, coinsurance, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, and other coverage/restrictions?