Ugh, it’s time to pick our health insurance for next year. Keeping the plan we’ve got means paying $200 a month more. But… would a “cheaper” plan cost us more in the long run? It depends! And COVID makes it a lot more complicated. This stinks.
You can hear my wife and me try to puzzle the whole thing out, and then I debrief with an expert. Who leaves me reminded how lucky we are to have the options we do. HEALTH INSURANCE SUCKS.
If you want to go deeper on health insurance, you might want to check these episodes from our first season:
- In Why you (and I) will likely pick the wrong health insurance, we learn: Smart economists have proved it’s actually super-hard,even they aren’t sure they’ll pick correctly, and most of us don’t even know the vocabulary, or how to do the math. (It’s not our fault, either.)
- Why health insurance actually sucks illuminates one big answer: Insurance companies allow a LOT of price-gouging. And often WE end up paying those prices. Argh. It really does suck.
- In the first-ever episode of this show, my family confronts the big puzzle: Can we even get insurance that’ll work for us?
- In A “deal” on health insurance comes with troubling strings, we go on a journey with a kinda-famous “financial therapist” who says she gets rattled when it comes to picking health insurance. And she’s pretty uncomfortable,morally, personally,with some of the choices she’s made. (Also, my family makes another cameo.)
And here are some other helpful big-picture takes:
- Listener Anna Jo Beck made a really great booklet explaining how health insurance works. It’s a zine! You can read it online.
- I borrowed some core insurance-picking advice,consider what a health plan does for you if you get hit by a bus,from this great story by Zachary Tracer at Business Insider, spelling out how he picked his insurance.
Want to go a LOT deeper? Like, you’re actually looking at buying health insurance, maybe on the Obamacare exchange?
- I found healthcare.gov to be SUPER-usable this year, way better than last time I checked.
- I punched in the answers to a few questions, and
- got to quickly tell it which doctors our family sees (and what meds we take)
- … and it provided a clear list that showed which plans cover our docs, how much they would cost us, etc.
- SUBSIDIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR OBAMACARE PLANS. Our pals at the Kaiser Family Foundation,who run Kaiser Health News, our production partners, have this explanation of how they work. (It’s a slog, but thorough. Print it out, open a beer, and settle in.)
- Remember how we said that lots of folks qualify for a plan with no premium? That’s this bit of research from them.
- Those same pals at KFF have a whole database of frequently-asked questions about Obamacare. Hundreds of Qs and As, including 180+ in Spanish.
- Also great, also very thorough: The Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reform has a whole site full of resources for navigating Obamacare. (It’s actually for “navigators”,folks who help civilians like us understand the sign-up process.)
That’s a lot, right? Ugh, this stuff is so overwhelming. But don’t let it get you down.
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