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I haven't made a study of this yet, so I'm pretty much speaking on the firm grounds of complete ignorance over here...

But it seems to me that if health insurance is going to cost us $2,000 per month (I know, I know, that wasn't meant to be a hard number!), wouldn't it be more cost effective to self-insure? Especially considering that in addition to the month premium, there is always a copay which ALSO seems to be sneaking ever upward in price...

I find it difficult to believe that medical treatment will really cost that much. We have medical coverage right now that is costing me $450 per month for my family, and I've begun analyzing just how cost effective it really is. I've started asking my doctor how much each visit would have cost us if we were writing her a check that day for the services provided, and started demanding to know how much prescriptions would have cost me without the coverage (I've been surprised a few times to find out they were actually less than my copay!). I'm keeping a spreadsheet on this - if anybody's interested, I'll post the results; I'm planning to take a one-year read before I do anything drastic. This is for a family of five, with three kids ages 4 months, almost-2, and just-turned-4. I figure if we lump all of us together, we're probably using about as much medical treatment as my 80-something grandmother with all her assorted high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. ;-)

Early research indicates that it may be more cost effective for me to put about $350 of that money into a savings account each month against doctor visits and whatnot and ONLY carry major medical - coverage with a high deductible against truly tragic events. The main fear is, "What if one of the kids comes down with leukemia or something" (oh man, I just gave myself an upset stomach just thinking that!) - but on the other hand, just as employment has become less and less permanent, I've heard an awful lot of stories about HMOs cancelling your policy the instant someone on it becomes "uninsurable."

But, as I said, I haven't made a major study out of this as a "whole" issue. And besides, I have to say that there are times that I would love to vote with my feet on the entire "no, we don't cover that" HMO deal. I've already been stiffed TWICE for over $1500 because the pediatrician at the hospital where my kids were delivered wasn't an "approved" pediatrician. Geesh, as if you can direct that kind of thing...and besides, the one time, it was my new daughter's primary care physician! But due to a convoluted process involving the phase of the moon, the color of the oak leaves that day and the precise time the sun set, she was technically covered under my specific insurance, which specifically states that we must use a pediatrician who is in a specific medical group which has, specifically, about two pediatricians in all of the West coast...

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