When I was young, my dad told me that I needed health insurance. I kinda laughed it off. However, through my 20’s, I went through periods where I did and then did not have coverage. Looking back, I should have maintained coverage for the duration; I never should have taken insurance “holidays”. But where I was right when I did have coverage was the type of policy I bought.
I bought myself, or obtained through an employer, Catastrophe Insurance. This is a policy that will cover me for anything and everything but comes with a deductible that is pretty high; $5000-$10,000. See, the thing about being young is that you are, well, young. From the time I was 16 until I was 28, I didn’t step foot into a doctor’s office, a hospital or even a clinic because I was sick except for one single time. I, like 99.5% of young people, was as healthy as a horse. The chance of me becoming sick or needing medical care was vanishingly small. So, given that the deductible was very high, there was almost no chance, and I was right, that I would need to use it.
Looking back, I am happy with the policy I bought. However, with the seasoning of experience, I realize that today’s youth could do even one better. Combine catastrophe coverage with an HSA. A health savings account. Over time, through this HSA, the individual is able to contribute to an account, tax free, that can be used at any time for medical reasons. So, all you have to do is contribute up to the amount of your deductible. This, in effect, building a very low cost iron clad “Cadillac” plan on the cheap. AND the individual has a tax free vehicle to run every day medical expenses through; eye glasses, aspirin, cough medicine, contacts and saline…anything really. Further, the account, unless used, remains intact, growing tax free, as the individual ages until they need it later in life.
As I listened to the health care debate this afternoon, I realize that I missed one other benefit. Shopping. Every time, every single time, I shop, I find a better price than the first place I think of going. Every time. I remember this was true of the small medical tests I did schedule and the medicines I did take. I shopped around. And got a better price. In fact, I did that this year. I am on blood pressure medication now and I priced the prescriptions through my insurance. The co-pay is higher than if I simply go to Wal-mart and pay out of pocket!
Shopping reduces the price of the product. This is true of hamburgers, bicycles, fish tanks and–AND, medical care.
And Obama shook him off. He isn’t even trying to build a bi-partisan consensus. What he’s doing is trying to see what it’ll take to get the Republican’s to vote for his bill.