First of all, this article is written from personal experience on the consumer side of health care. I am not an expert on private insurance programs. This is a testimonial from the person in our family who schedules medical tests, shops for medicine and tries to work within a budget, me.
In January, my husbands’ company gave us the opportunity to reduce our insurance payment by setting up a Health Savings Account along with a high deductible Major Medical insurance plan. After working through the numbers we decided that the Health Savings Account gave us a better opportunity for longterm affordability and would require us to shop around for health care.
We are allowed by the Federal Government to set aside 5,000.00 dollars before we pay taxes, ie., pre-tax money into what is called a Health Savings Account or HSA. We can spend this money on medical tests, doctor visits, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and wellness visits.
We also pay half of the insurance premium for a major medical plan through Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield which has a high deductible rate of 5,000 dollars. It is Anthems responsibility to pay for preventive medical testing, ie., mammograms and colonoscopies. Also, they use their bargaining power to reduce the costs of providers and connect us with an online pharmacy.
It is our responsibility to find the best value for our HSA money because what we don’t spend in 2011 we rollover into our 2012 account. So far we have worked with the online pharmacy to reduce our drug costs by half. My husband takes 2 drugs to lower his blood pressure and I am on a low dose of a statin for lowering HDL cholesterol. We also exercise regularly, take whole food supplements and are switching to a mainly vegetarian diet. I personally love to cook using Dr. Dean Ornish’s program.
Since this is the first year we have done this it is an experiment. So far our account is growing and we have had the funds needed for our family’s medical care. We are also paying for the care of 3 dependents. Future blogs will be posted on our progress .
What I love about this system is it puts the responsibility for our health on us, reducing our costs and introducing competition into the health marketplace. And economists tell us that in a society where enterprise is free, competition always lowers the cost.