Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Insurance & Healthcare Costs: Effective Birth Control?

Today an insurance rep came to the firm to talk to any interested associates and staff about supplemental insurance programs. Our firm, like most businesses with less than 50 employees in our state, does not have to offer insurance to employees(at least for now, we'll see what the new healthcare reform brings). When you don't belong to an insurance risk pool such as an employee group, it can be pretty expensive to find affordable insurance.

The good thing about healthcare through employers is that businesses, even small businesses, can join employee risk pools. More people in the risk pool means that health risks are spread out among more people (basically healthy people are subsidizing the medical costs of sick people- doesn't that sound like public healthcare already?). Also the bigger the risk pool, the more consumer power that group has to negotiate competative premiums with insurance companies. So you can see why it's a benefit to have insurance through your employer. I just love insurance. I'm freakishly enamored by it. It is so so fascinating to me, but sorry for my digression.

I get my insurance coverage through my husband's employer. But like most insurance plans, it doesn't cover 100% of expenses. The total cost of my son's birth in 2008 was about 30K dollars including c-section, delivery, newborn wellness and five days in the hospital. Of that cost, I had to fork over about 3,700 out of my own pocket (ahem, federal student loans!). Since we are thinking about having baby #2 soon, I decided it might be a good idea to get some supplemental insurance to cover the riduluosly overpriced procedures and care related to child birth. (Don't even get me started on how US insurance practices contribute to the high costs of US healthcare! I won't go there).

The insurance rep gave her little talk about the different programs they offer. I am pretty sure, with all the questions I was asking about maternity and delivery, every single person in my office now knows that I'm thinking of having another baby- a little embarasssing. During the talk I also learned that in my state, if someone dies with student loan debt, that debt GOES AWAY. It's a personal debt that doesn't carry over to spouses or family. SERIOUSLY? All I have to do is fake my own death to be rid of my $1400+ a month student loan payments for the next ten years? Quick, get me an unidentifiable dead body, a ticket to the farthest reachest of the galaxy and find me someone to frame!

By the end of the day, I had successfuly signed up for supplemental health care. Under my new supplemental plan, the insurance company will pay $1000 for the first 24 hours I have to stay in a hospital (duh, childbirth!). After the first 24 hours, they will continue to pay about 100 per day. This isn't a lot but it IS only to supplement my current health care. It also covers surgeries and other treatments as well. All in all, I feel confident that we can afford to have a second child. It feels good to be responsible!

Oh but there IS one catch. This new plan doesn't kick in for about three months (kinda sucks, if you think about it, I'm paying premiums for three months for NOTHING in return- SCAM!). So I absolutely CANNOT get pregnant until some time after July 1st. I'm starting to think the risk of high healthcare costs is one of the most effective forms of birth control. I should go speak to 9th grade health classes. Maybe I can impart my love for insurance law on them while I'm at it.


Proto Attorney said...

I'm pretty sure the student loan people actually follow you into the afterlife to collect, though. They don't let you off that easy!

Izzie said...

The whole insurance thing is such a pain, but glad to hear you have embraced it and fallen head over heels!