Friday, May 05, 2006

Healthcare coverage for a family of four

Ok, so I've never covered healthcare for a family before, and now I have to choose whether I want to pay full out for my healthcare through work (consulting gigs dont generally pay any of the premiums - including this one), or whether to just do what I usually do when I want healthcare, and that is to pay for it myself from an independent provider.

Now, I've generally payed around $300 a month for my personal coverage, which is fairly minimal. plus another about $100 for dental. My healtchare costs have NEVER amounted to NEAR that much, excepting getting my wisdom teeth pulled, so they are basically there for catastropic injury.

Of course with a four and a two year old to cover now, we're going to want more than jsut catastrophic care coverage. If we elect to do nothing, we'd be going nine months without coverage (until my new employer started covering my healthcare); but that money could be going into a moneymarket account instead

For this new gig, I'd be paying (assuming a 160 hour work month) about $780 a month for a Blue Cross Arizona PPO covering my family of four; including delta dental. That's a lot less than my previous gig which would have been $1100 a month for the same coverage, but I may be able to find a better deal with an independant provider.

Anyone have any experiences with family coverage costs in AZ? Any experience with Arizona Blue Cross PPO? Any other advice here?


Anyway I jsut got the coverage summary from the company, and I can get the exact same plan they offer (BC/BS preferred PPO with $2500 deductible) for less than half of what they are charging buying it independently here in AZ.

Personally, I like my previous HSA (health savings account) with a medium deductible plan from the last employer I got healthcare from, so that's not a problem for me. The good news is that if I pay for everything myself, it’s 100% tax deductible. One of the advantages of being a contractor.

Throw in an extra bit for the dental, and the $2500 HSA deduction (which is spread out in 12 monthly payments) and you STILL come up cheaper than the company is charging, plus only $5000 of it is deductible if I buy through the company (only $1500 if it was just me).

Yeah, we’re not taking the companies coverage. I’mna look at what our other options are, but I’m still thinking medium deductible plan with an HSA is the way to go.

Now the fun part is that effectively I am payed $5.00 more an hour by not taking the coverage, AND my taxes go down by about $3000 for paying for it myself. Even given $600 a month in health and dental premiums plus HSA deduction, that's an effective $5000 raise over and above the cost of healthcare.

Oh and you can spend HSA money on elective surgery, like laser eye surgery which both Mel and I want; so that money isn't wasted if we dont go through our deductible in a year.

Let's repeat that. I'm getting the exact same coverage, I'm keeping $5000 more of my income every year; and I dont lose all the money I sunk into my healthcare if I don't use it.

Now, if more employees were offered this kind of option, how many do you think would take it?