Over the last 10 years, we’ve run into a lot of friends, relatives and acquaintances that were thinking about leaving the 9-5 hamster wheel and venturing off on their own. There are definitely a lot of perks. No set hours (unless you get a picky client), you can choose which clients or projects to take on, most of the time you get to work from home, more time with family, etc. The number one logistical technicality holding them back? Health Insurance. For some reason in our American culture, we have traded freedom and flexibility for the idea of benefits from a large (or small) corporation.
I’m guilty as well. When Sam was almost done with his Master’s thesis and we were looking around for the next step, I was giddy with excitement. We were going to have a REAL job, and they were going to give us BENEFITS. I wasn’t going to have to worry about health insurance anymore, it would magically be taken care of for me.
Not the case.
I realized I no longer had control over which health insurance company we would be associated with, that our employer did not pay ALL of our health insurance costs but a portion was still pulled from our paycheck, and that some of the plans really just did not meet our needs. I felt trapped. After years of being in control of our health care I really struggled.
After Sam quit the 9-5 and we went back on our own, I sighed with relief.
So, what do we do for health insurance?
Let me preface this by saying everyone’s needs are different. What I term adequate health insurance coverage may not fit your family’s needs. We are young, healthy, and have no plans to add any more children to our family. I also have not sat down with our health insurance agent to go over our options with Obamacare’s new rules. Since we’ve been on the road, we basically just kept the same plan as last year although there’s probably something better out there. We’ll sit down with him later this spring when we get back to Utah.
We have 3 different plans to cover our needs: and HSA general health insurance plan, Dental Insurance, and a Supplemental Accident plan.
The HSA: $258.51/month
We have a high deductible ($10,000), Health Savings Account plan. The HSA plan is basically a savings account with a debit card that I spend on medical and health related purchases. Every month I transfer $200 from our personal checking account over to the HSA account (all of our accounts are currently with Chase), and then whenever we have something medical related I pay for it with the associated debit card. Its easier that way because I don’t have to keep track and reimburse myself for purchases. With the HSA account they give you a list of qualified purchases and you have to log in and verify that what you spent does indeed qualify. Over the counter drugs, sick doctor’s visits (well visits are covered 100% under Obamacare), and chiropractic visits are probably our 3 biggest expenses. The HSA account also rolls over every year so you don’t have to go on a mad doctor spree in December to use all your money.
In a previous post, I talked about having a savings buffer. We have $10,000 sitting in our bank savings account to cover our deductible (or anything else for that matter). Yes, its a high deductible, and I’d probably cry if something happened and we had to use it but it also wouldn’t break us. We would recover. That’s what insurance is for anyway right? To provide relief so that any imaginable situation is not un-recoverable.
Dental Insurance: $54/month
Our agent found us a cheap one. We’d never really had dental insurance, but Sam has notoriously bad teeth and I figured we probably needed something for the rest of us as well. For a few years I just paid out of pocket, but that got old and really expensive. I’m still undetermined if it actually saves us money in the long term, but we’ll go with it for now.
We have dental insurance through a smaller Utah company called Total Dental Administrators of Utah, Inc. (TDA for short). You basically choose from their very small list of providers and set a dentist that you’ll go to every time. The insurance has a discounted price for what different procedures cost, and you pay that at the office. We chose the dentist recommended and used by our agent. He’s great. Probably my favorite dentist since we’ve been married actually. Nice office, close to home, and does great with the kids. Downside is that its in Utah so if we keep this plan we’ll have to travel through once a year and set up visits.
Supplemental Accident Plan: $53.10/month
This was also recommended by our agent. It basically covers any unforeseen accident. Whether its Sam using tools and he slices something, or one of the kids breaks an arm jumping off rocks we are covered. This gives me piece of mind that if something catastrophically accidental occurs our insurance will pay up to $7500 per person with only a $100 per person deductible.
While our insurance isn’t perfect, and does take a bit more effort than going through a company, I really like being in control of it. I’m actually excited to go back to Utah, sit down with our agent and discuss the best options that are available for us. For those of you that are on the road or self-employed what have you found for insurance that works for you?