Last week, our health insurance company (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) sent us a letter about yet another rate increase. Between our two policies, this is the third or fourth increase in the two years since we launched our individual policies.
The latest hike for my wife’s policy jacks the rate by a few dollars shy of 25%! That means extra thousands of dollars every year to cover our health premiums. This also comes after a more than 30% total rise in premiums on the policy that covers my son and I since we got individual coverage in January of 2012 (2 years, 2 months ago).
The cost of our medical insurance is starting to approach what we used to pay for rent! Just the rise in rates alone is enough to equal a couple of tickets to Europe every year. With a huge focus on boosting our savings this year, this is tremendously frustrating, and has left me wondering–is it worth it?
We have three basic options going forward–do nothing, reduce or shop for different coverage, or drop coverage entirely.
Dropping coverage. This is not really an option in my mind. Health insurance is too valuable and the potential downside of no insurance during even a mild emergency can be catastrophic to our finances. With the potential of more kids in our future, I also have to keep in mind the maternity coverage our policy provides.
Do nothing. The other extreme is equally unattractive because of the rising costs, but we would at least have decent and continued coverage, and won’t spend time going through the process of evaluating and applying for policies again.
Reduce coverage. A reduction in coverage could be the most direct way to reduce premiums. Our deductibles and copays are still fairly low and it’s possible that we could afford to change things around.
Shop around. Another option might be taking a look at different companies or insurance styles. The policies we got were ideal and inexpensive at the time, but that doesn’t mean that the insurance landscape hasn’t changed in two years.
The implications of a national health insurance system are still vague and unlikely to be in effect until years from now, if at all.
For now, we can’t think of our coverage as temporary, and need to make sure that our family is completely covered. I don’t think anyone is quite sure what the future will bring in terms of health insurance, but we can definitely count on continued rising costs.