Ok folks, listen up, this is important: The idea that you need health insurance for routine medical care is a big ole bunch of hooey. We have all been hypnotized to think we need it and the truth is that the health insurance racket is what is making everything medical so damned expensive. We need health care – yes. We need health care insurance? I don’t think so. Of course, the incidence of major illnesses or accidents might present an exception; I think there used to be something called “major medical insurance” for these. I’m talking here about routine health/medical care, and I would almost guarantee the plan I’m about to suggest. Here it is: Take whatever you are paying (or would pay) for health insurance and put it in a savings account instead. Then tell your doctors, pharmacists, dentists, eye doctor, etc. that you do not have insurance and ask what kinds of discounts, or less expensive prescriptions are available. Pay for it all out of that savings account, and I betcha you end up with money still in that account at the end of the year.
After I got laid off (2009), I had 15 months of government subsidized COBRA coverage. With the subsidy, I could just afford to keep it, so I did – because “You GOTTA have insurance!”) I paid $130 a month for it (35% of the total premium.) Most of those 15 months went by without me visiting the doctor’s office, but when I did, it cost me $20. When I had to fill my migraine medication it cost me $25, and my blood pressure medication was $4.
Then, about 10 months ago, the subsidy ran out and I couldn’t afford to pay the whole premium, so I cancelled the insurance and held my breath waiting to go completely broke because “EEK, I don’t have medical insurance!” I made a point in those last few months of visiting every doctor and specialist I have “one last time” to make sure everything was as ok as I could get it before losing my coverage (gasp!)
Ok, so now I do not spend that $130 every month for insurance premiums. That’s $1,560 a year less going out, right? Right.
Doctor’s visits: Because I am now a “fee for service” (instead of insurance billed) customer, I pay $55 to see my doctor, instead of $20. That’s $35 more than it would cost me with insurance.
My migraine medication: Very expensive. $25 for 6 doses with insurance, over $200 without insurance. EXCEPT – the drug manufacturer has a deal on their website that allows me to get it for $55. Doooo ya REALLY think they are selling it to me at a loss now? No – they were just making ungodly amounts of profit off my insurance company before. So I pay $30 more for my migraine medication now. ($35 + $30 = $65)
Update: This discount was from Phizer for Relpax; I later was able to get Maxalt, another medication that works for me, from Merck, completely free through their patient assistance program.
Blood pressure medicine: It now costs me a whopping $11 instead of $4. There goes another $7. ($65 + $7 = $72)
Ok, so that’s $72 more I had to pay because of the fact that I DIDN’T pay $130 for insurance. Hmmm . . . $130 – $72 = $58. <– That’s how much LESS I spent without insurance – and that’s just in a month where I went to the doctor and filled both my prescriptions. I don’t do that every month. Most months, all I do is NOT give $130 to an insurance company. Correct me if I’m wrong, but so far I think I’m duh, winning.
Then yesterday, I went to the eye doctor (to pay plain old money for an eye exam.) The lady asked me if I wanted this optional test they offer (some kind of retina camera exam.) A year or two ago, (when I had vision insurance) I paid significantly more to have this optional test done. Remembering that fee, I said “No, I guess not this time.” As the lady walked me back to the exam room, she noticed my chart and said, “Oh you don’t have insurance.” I said, “Right, I don’t.” She said, “Well in that case the retina camera test is free.” What? Yeah that’s right. Not just discounted – free. If they bill insurance they “have to” charge you a certain amount, but if not – not.
Update: I also found out how to save a bundle on the actual eyeglasses – around $60 instead of between $300 and $400. I used Zenni Optical online, and there are some other sites as well.
Who is brave enough to try out my plan with me? I would not have been if I hadn’t been sort of forced into it, but now I am REALLY regretting all the money I have paid in insurance premiums in the past. Even when employed, I still had to pay part of it. I know I could have a car wreck, a heart attack, or come down with a major illness – anyone could. But let’s face it – hospitals are not allowed to turn you away in an emergency, something really major is going to break you anyway, and for semi-major things, maybe if you’ve been saving all that insurance premium money, you’ll be able to pay the hospital bill – WHICH remember will not be nearly as high in the first place, because “OH! You don’t have insurance!”
Of course I guess this will all be moot, if we are required by law to buy health insurance, which I think I heard some rumor of . . .