Health Care Strategies for 2017 – Revisited

Something strange happened this weekend. My health insurance company sent me a letter saying they could continue my grandfathered health insurance plan with them as long as I was happy with a 13% increase in my premium. I threw it out on the counter for my wife to look at. Her gut reaction is to screw them. It is a natural reaction from someone who is still reacting to the misinformation that “you can keep your health care plan if you like it”. Since I did not expect my insurance company to offer my grandfathered health insurance plan in 2017 I had to think.

My previous health care plan for 2017 was based on my presumption that my grandfathered plan would not be available. Despite the craziness of the Affordable Care Act it still makes sense for an insurance company to attempt to keep the perfect customer in the program.  The problem is that for the last five years I endured 12% increases despite never making a claim. Now that I have over $5,000 in my Health Savings Account I can be more aggressive about the  price I would self-insure. The fact that the lowest cost bronze plan from the exchange is much worse than my current plan is not relevant except that it makes me exempt from the individual mandate. The Health Savings Account with an extra $6,500 in my savings account is a very attractive health care strategy. At what price would my grandfathered health insurance plan be attractive?

Did The Affordable Care Act Screw Up The Health Insurance Market?

Medical Care Inflation

Medical Care Inflation

Recently I came across a chart over on the Health Care Blog that summarizes my problem. If my health insurance had increased at the inflation rate for medical care(~3.2% annually since 2011) my health insurance would be well within my boundaries for affordable health insurance. It did not. If my health insurance premium in 2011 was the fair market price then you have to wonder why my health insurance did not increase at a rate closer to 3.2%. Were the 12% annual increases an unintended consequence of the Affordable Care Act meddling with the health insurance market for healthy people?

My Revised Health Care Plan For 2017

Since I was already outside my boundaries for affordable health insurance in 2016 the question is what price would lure me back in for 2017? My plan is to ask my insurance company if they would accept a 0% increase. If they accept my proposal we will continue with our health insurance and putting additional funds in our Health Savings Account. If they reject my proposal we will self-insure.