I have until Monday to decide if I’ll make a switch with our health insurance.¹
I have been on the same Blue Cross plan for over 20 years. I suspect that when the dust settles with my research this weekend, we’ll end up making no changes. That’s what normally happens whenever I do this. I spend hours comparing plans, looking up drug costs, seeing if specific doctors are included in a network, etc. But after all is said and done, I always end up staying with exactly what I have.
This time around, the impetus to change revolves around a specific drug that Gorgeous takes. It’s nothing serious or dramatic, just a topical that she uses daily. It is, however, expensive because it has no generic equivalent. Adding to the fun when I research all of this, is the varying degree of cost differences between all the plans offered. So to handle this responsibly, we have to consider all factors that impact coverage even though we’re only focusing on this one med.
Should we spend more each month to upgrade to the higher Blue Cross plan? Doing so will make this drug less expensive. But we’ve crunched the numbers, and it doesn’t seem like a good idea because the savings for the med will be nearly the same as the cost to upgrade. Or should we switch to a competing fee-for-service plan that is overall less expensive? We can, but it would appear that we’d be paying the same exact cost for the med, and then the total savings for switching is only $9 each month. I think we’re better off with the devil we already know. And believe me, I do think health insurance companies are devilish.
Maybe we should we consider an HMO which will ostensibly make both our prescription and medical costs lower. It’s tempting, but neither of us want to lose the relative freedom we currently have to choose doctors we actually like, and medications we want to continue to take.
It all becomes one big domino effect with one change impacting another. I am reminded of an anecdote attributed to Harry Truman: After listening to a long presentation on his choices to solve an economic problem, he decided that he instead wanted to chop off the hands of all his economists. He apparently got tired of them saying, “On the one hand...”
Health care policy is a primary reason for governmental gridlock in Washington right now. Shortly before he died, Teddy Kennedy admitted in his autobiography that he wished he hadn’t rejected President Nixon’s proposal for universal health care back in the 1970’s. Had the senator’s own political ambition not clouded his judgment, we would all be in a very different place right now.²
I don’t expect much progress to be made in the coming years over health care reform. Like the old Irish joke about God being asked if there would be ever be peace in Northern Ireland, he responds “Yes, but not in my lifetime.”
Between now and Monday we will make a decision on this. And then on Tuesday I will make an appointment with the optometrist. I’m sure my eyes will no doubt be damaged from straining to read fine print over the weekend.
¹ This is for my retirement health insurance benefit. I am still too young for Medicare coverage.
² For whatever it matters, and the intent of this post is NOT to debate the national conversation over health care, but I happen to support Obamacare. It is my own opinion that a great country such as ours needs to care for its own. Walk into any hospital emergency room today and you will see the sad state of the uninsured.