We have really good employer-sponsored health insurance through my wife's employer. The premiums are high though and have gone up significantly year-over-year. This is extremely worrisome and has had a significant impact upon our family finances.
With Obamacare right around the corner, and talk of insurance and medical costs going even higher, we as a family are concerned about just how big a chunk health care costs will take of our income. But what are we supposed to do? We have to have it, and we're stuck in a sort of terrifying health care trap.
We Have to Have it
My wife has been a type 1 diabetic since she was about thirteen years old. This isn't type 2 diabetes, where a pill or eating better means it might be diminished in its severity. This is the type of diabetes that is with a person forever no matter what they do or how they eat. And at this point, there is no cure.
Therefore, with a variety of regular diabetes supplies necessary to keep her healthy -- and frankly, keep her alive -- it means that good health insurance isn't an option for our family, it's a necessity. With the cost of such insurance rising in leaps and bounds, this aspect of our financial life is a somewhat terrifying trap. Add two small children into the mix, and of course myself, and our monthly premiums for family insurance are quite substantial.
Skyrocketing Cost of Insurance
What were last year $120 per week health insurance premiums went up 25 percent year-over-year to where they now sit at just over $150 a week. While this $30 per week increase might seem minimal at first, over the course of a year it adds $1,560 to our health insurance costs, bringing our total to nearly $8,000 a year.
Factor in an $1,100 deductible per person, with an annual family out-of-pocket cost of $5,000 or about $2,000 per person, whichever comes first, and when the year is said and done, and co-pays for prescriptions and doctor visits are factored in, we're at about $10,000 a year (unless we have a baby like we did last year or similar big-ticket medical cost, then our expense was significantly higher) in health and medical costs.
Trying to Combat Costs and Protect Ourselves
There isn't a whole lot we can do about our overall health care costs; however, this doesn't mean we're content to leave certain things to chance when it comes to our long-term health outlook.
I make reference to stockpiling various things in many of my articles. I think that planning for the unexpected is a good idea, and in our current economy and without many secure places to put our money, we find that stocking up on medical supplies is one area in which we can not only invest our money but try to protect ourselves from rising health costs as well.
For example, when my wife gets her diabetic supplies and insulin, if there is any extra, we set it aside noting the expiration date in the process. Since her insulin has a two-year expiration date, there's no reason not to try to build up an excess stock. I look at it as having an extra supply of air if I was in outer space. How could it be a bad thing to have on hand…just in case, right? As this extra supply increases, we rotate in the new and rotate out the old, using it in place of the newer stock. This way, if something should happen -- we lose our coverage or for some reason couldn't afford it -- we have an additional supply we could rely upon with or without insurance.
With savings vehicles with decent interest rates hard to find, we feel that putting some extra money toward lower cost supplies while we can get them through insurance is one of the best investments we can make right now and at least lets us get a little something for the money we're putting toward health insurance costs.
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The author is not a licensed financial, insurance or health professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial, insurance or health advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader's discretion.
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