We got our annual health insurance premium increase this month, and we’re now paying $498/month for our health insurance. I fondly remember 2003, when we were paying $110/month. But since then we switched to an HSA qualified plan with a $3000 family deductible (as opposed to the $2500 per person deductible we had before), and we added a third family member to the policy. And of course there are five years of rate increases factored into the equation. I know there are plenty of people paying more, but $500 a month is still a lot of money. I’ve never used my health insurance for anything other than annual exams. Our baby was born at home, and we paid our midwives ourselves – insurance didn’t cover it. My husband hasn’t ever used his health insurance until this year, when he more than got our money’s worth from it with two knee surgeries and all the follow ups and physical therapy visits. But by the end of the year, he should be back to normal, with no more knee issues. Our baby has only used the policy for well-child checks, which are covered regardless of whether we’ve met the deductible or not.
Taking all of this into account, we’ve decided to raise our deductible in January. I checked with the insurance company, and we can increase the deductible to $4000 and pay $420/month. That saves us $78/month, or $936/year. Of course, we’ll have an extra $1000 in exposure with the higher deductible, but as long as we don’t meet our deductible every year going forward, we’ll come out ahead with the higher deductible and lower premiums. The way I look at it is that if we keep the lower deductible, we’re guaranteed to be spending that $936/year in premiums. If we go with the higher deductible, we might have to spend extra money to meet the deductible. That’s a gamble I’m willing to take, given our history of never using our health insurance at all. We have enough money in our HSA to cover the higher deductible, and we’ll be putting more into it in January (some of which will come from the savings we get by going with the higher deductible).
Our deductible will be $4000 for the family, and the policy has 100% coverage after the deductible – so as long as we stay in network, $4000 is our worst-case out of pocket amount. What about you? What’s the highest deductible you’re comfortable with? Have you raised your deductible or cut your benefits in order to lower your premiums?