What I Could Buy Instead of Health Insurance
Last year I lost my job at HP and got a new job as a contract worker at Intel.
Working as a contract worker, I'm earning a sweet hourly wage, but I'm not getting any of the perks that a full-boat regular salaried employee would earn.
I'm not accumulating sick time, I get no vacation time and worst of all, I'm getting no health coverage.
Through a program called COBRA, workers in the US are able to stay on their old companies' health care plans, as long as they are able to keep paying whatever premium their old company was paying. This is what our family did. We stayed on the same Kaiser plan we had when I was working at HP. But we pay the whole insurance premium ourselves.
And man, oh man, is it expensive.
Our family's policy, two adults and two kids, for medical, dental and vision, costs $1,320.87 per month. That's the insurance premium. If we actually use the care, we have to pay a deductable too (called a co-pay), but honestly, after paying $1,320.87 per month, almost any co-pay seems like pocket change.
For me, facing this incredible payment every month, I considered what other things I could buy with that much month every month.
The first thing I thought of is that we could lease a couple of cars!
My first stop was to the Florin Road Hyundai dealership.
For $1320 a month, I could lease a top-of the line Hyundai Genesis, plus a second Genesis, plus a Santa Fe ($450/mo., $299/mo., $350/mo. respectively). Three new cars!
Man! I cannot wait until someone else starts paying my health insurance! How could providing health care to my healthy family possibly be worth more than three luxurious new cars? Amazing.
Next, I visited the Folsom Toyota Dealership. At the Toyota dealership, $1320 goes quite far. The most expensive Toyota is the Sequoia Platinum SUV, a $60,000 car, which, of course I could lease for less than my families $1320 per month health care payment.
Some other options to spend $1320 at the Toyota dealership included a 4Runner, Highlander & Corolla combination. I could also lease FOUR Camrys for that amount, or perhaps I'd prefer to lease FIVE Corollas! ($225-$250/mo. each).
Finally, I went to the El Dorado Hills Mercedes Dealership. $1320/month was almost enough to lease a $100,000 car... for that amount of money I could lease anything except a Mercedes AMG. Within my price range were matching 2012 GLK 350 SUVs, or a pair of $50,000 E350 sedans.
I was looking at beautiful examples of magnificent German engineering, mine for the same price I was paying for basic peace of mind with my medical insurance payments.
Visiting car dealerships was fun when I had a potential $1320/month to spend, but maybe that money would be better spent elsewhere. No, not on health insurance, for every extraneous monthly expense I could dream of!
Like Netflix, streaming subscription with 8 DVDs out ($51.88/month), plus a World of Warcraft subscription ($15/month), plus a gym membership ($25/month), a home security monitoring system ($32/month), Gamefly service ($22.95/month), plus a membership to a tanning club ($9.95/month), plus Amazon Prime ($6.66/month), plus Hulu Plus ($7.99), Time Magazine ($2.50/month), Newsweek ($3.25/month), Playboy ($1.33/month), Wired ($1.25), Martha Stewart Living ($2.00/month), a lawn service ($50/month), Dana's Housekeeping service - four hours/week ($312/month).... uh, plus FullBelly Farms weekly vegetable & flower deliveries ($127.50/month), plus sponsoring a child in Haiti ($35/month), plus Disneyland deluxe annual passes for the whole family ($127.36/month total) plus a large supreme pizza from Pizza Hut delivered every night ($428.40/month). Those things total $1267.02 per month, leaving enough to give the pizza guy a $53 tip.
This was literally every additional monthly service I could think of. I could live like a king!
Man, this health care is crazy expensive, and we think every day about dropping the coverage. We hang onto it because we can't take the risk of sure-fire financial ruin in the case of a major medical incident. We've been shopping around for better deals, which looks promising because no one in our family has a pre-existing condition. We'll get a different policy, with a higher deductable and higher co-pays, taking on more of the risks ourselves.
Until I get another salaried job that is. When that happens, my employer is going to start paying that $1,320/month again, and I'll be driving five Corollas!