Two weeks notice: health insurance

I mentioned in my first post in this series that I need to figure out healthcare for my family now that we’ll no longer be covered under the company’s plan. We spent some time digging into this recently, and basically came away with these points:

  • We are going to be paying significantly more per month than we used to. That is obvious and expected.
  • Buying through the health insurance marketplace is not much different than buying direct through BlueCross BlueShield. Comparing a few plans, the prices seem about the same. Hopefully we’ll get a tax credit discount based on our family size and the fact that I’ll probably be making less money this year.
  • We will need to stay in a PPO to keep the same doctors. This is non-negotiable for me, even though it will mean higher premiums.
  • Deductibles will be much higher than what we’ve had so far. The budget will be tight and we can’t justify the crazy-high premium that would be required to lower the deductible and out-of-pocket max. We’re leaning toward some medium-level plan.
  • It’s too expensive to continue my existing health coverage through COBRA for very long. Switching to a new policy soon makes the most sense. It should be fine to do COBRA for a month or so since we’ve already met our deductible and have a couple doctor visits coming up.
  • One of the main differences between some of the plans is whether there’s a copay for doctor visits. We are going to prefer plans with a copay and flat prescription drug charge.

We’re still learning details about this process every day, so some of the above may not end up representing our best options. Just yesterday we realized that there’s some flexibility in what we continue with under COBRA. For example, sticking with existing dental and vision but choosing something else for primary healthcare.

Since it’s already nearly August, I’m trying not to worry too much about these decisions. If we choose poorly, we’ll be stuck with mediocre insurance for a couple months (until my wife starts a new job in the fall and we can consider her group options) or until the end of the year (when the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act resets).

Related, from 2009: Matt Haughey on the entrepreneurial case for national healthcare. And, more recently: Paul Krugman on the triumph of Obamacare. With everything else to worry about as an indie, at least it appears I won’t have to watch the progress we’ve made on healthcare start to unravel.