a new perspective on insurance

As a relatively young and healthy person, I must admit that I have never found it overly important to pay close attention to my health insurance. I have had ACL replacement surgery, but I was in college and still on my parents insurance. The cost behind the surgery was not nearly as real to me as the rehab after it at the time. A couple of years ago, my company switched to a high-deductible health insurance plan, and last year, one of Rhiannon’s primary options at work switched to the same type of plan. And if it was just the two of us, we probably still wouldn’t know much about how either of our insurance plans work.

I know that I get to put tax-free money into a health savings account and I happen to lucky enough to have a company match as well, which means free money to pay for my health care. Rhiannon also gets some company money put into her HSA. So, we seem to come out ahead as long as we stay healthy.

And then we went and had ourselves a baby – someone who has already had two separate ear infections and that little round of RSV that won us a surprising week-long stay in the hospital and several weeks of home oxygen therapy.

I think we just got the final bills for that wonderful experience, and believe me, we will be using a good chunk of the HSA money we have set aside. Now, we are lucky to have company provided health insurance so we aren’t worried about Brooklynn developing asthma and being denied coverage based on a preexisting condition, and we never had to weigh the options of going home before the doctors thought we should because we couldn’t afford to stay.

I do know that Brooklynn used up almost thirty-thousand dollars of her two million dollar lifetime cap on our insurance. A week of a hospital room and a couple of x-ray. No MRIs, no exploratory surgeries, no chemotherapy.  Just a couple of medications and breathing treatments and a short drive home.

We could do that type of coverage twice a year every year for over 33 years (not counting for inflation) before we would reach her lifetime coverage cap. And really, if Brooklynn is still living with us when she is 33, we might have other issues than her reaching her health insurance coverage. However, I can see how a couple of serious rounds of injury and illness can burn through large amounts of insurance coverage very quickly.

But, assuming everything goes through, that will no longer be a consideration. No more lifetime caps. No more exclusions in private insurance due to preexisting conditions. Hopefully no more signs in emergency rooms detailing how they will treat patients even if the patient has no health care.

Health Care Reform 2010. Is it the final answer? I don’t think so.  I think there are still a lot of things to be worked out and I’m sure the final details will be tweaked, but I’m happy that something got done. Maybe we can all move forward and figure out how what is supposed to the greatest country in the world took this long to come up with some way to make sure everyone has some sort of health coverage.