All of these insurance woes resonate with me, and you're right, there is no right answer. My perspective is as a nurse, working for a large health system, paying to be insured by my employer. Fun fact: they require a $50 spousal surcharge *per pay period* to cover my spouse (because he is offered coverage by his employer). This means that the only way OUT of that surcharge would be for him to not qualify for benefits from his employer (change jobs or work fewer hours). So I pay extra to cover my family (my per-paycheck premium) PLUS this spousal surcharge. AND I WORK IN THE INDUSTRY. Shouldn't I get a frequent flyer discount for working here AND seeking care within the system? Which leads me to my next fun fact!

My employer's insurance plan changes every few years. In the past there were three options: PPO, EPO, or HMO. Now there are two: PPO or Preferred PPO. I don't remember the nuances of each, but they now provide the highest coverage for in-system care (nothing is covered 100% and there's a deductible, of course). Like, if this was Kaiser, they cover the most if I ONLY see Kaiser providers. I work for a great health system filled with providers I trust, thankfully. But I also find this a little unnerving. Where is the line between where I work and where I seek care? What if I had a sensitive medical problem? Would I hesitate to seek care knowing my employer was also (to a limited extent) in-the-know about my diagnosis and treatment? Now I have to pay a lot of money every paycheck for the privilege of seeking care from my employer. What a racket! Which leads me to my final fun fact!

There are all kinds of add-ons with our benefits enrollment each year. I can add Cancer Insurance (you know, in case I know every Fall that I'm going to have cancer the following year), Long Term Care insurance (because nobody can afford good care in the long run), vision, dental, orthodontia, etc. What I'm saying is, my expensive family plan *is just the basic coverage*. The economy model, if you will. We all got raises and bonuses during the pandemic (I'm sure the government footed the bill), and I'm grateful for the recognition. But they're taking it back in the form of health insurance premiums and surcharges (thank goodness we don't smoke or that could be an EXTRA $45 surcharge, per person, per paycheck). And my paycheck comes every 2 weeks....

It's a dumb stupid mess because of private health insurance and profitable Healthcare (even though my system is technically non-profit, which feels... nonsensical). All we can do is open wide and eat up, and hope we don't have a medical problem that bankrupts us in the future.

Thank you for sharing your health insurance journey. It's a tough one to navigate! And that's not a bug, it's a feature. 😂😭

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good GOD I didn't know Cancer Insurance was a thing. thank you for writing!

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