My wife started her new teaching job here in New Mexico last week, and this weekend we had to fill out her new insurance sign-up forms. We have been on private insurance for almost 2 years since I left my corporate job, costing us about $320 a month in California and $215 here in New Mexico, both of which had huge deductibles (which I went over in both 2007 and 2008). This covered medical only – no dental, no vision – so while I was happy we had health insurance (basically an enhanced version of catastrophic insurance, really), it did not cover us for a lot of things. But our new health plan, while a little more expensive, is so much more than we are used to having!
See, my wife is a teacher in a public school – and educators get amazing health insurance plans when they teach at public schools. (Knew I should have been a teacher) The groups are so big that they can really negotiate with the companies to get the best deals. And while we are paying $215 a month here for our plan until the end of August, the new one will cost $257, an increase of $42 a month. But let’s look at the big differences that are only going to cost us an additional $42:
Old Plan – $40 copay for doctor visits
New Plan – $15 copay for doctor visits
Old Plan – $10 generic prescriptions
New Plan – $2 generic prescriptions
Old Plan – $2500 deductible
New Plan – $0 deductible
Old Plan – 50% of any outpatient services
New Plan – Max of $150 for any outpatient services
Old Plan – 50% of charges for newborn services (delivery, prenatal, postnatal care)
New Plan – A one-time $25 copay on first visit only, everything else covered for newborn services (delivery, prenatal, postnatal care)
Old Plan – $150 for a routine physical
New Plan – $0 ded., $0 copay for routine physical
The list goes on and on – I have never seen an insurance plan like this. And I didn’t even add in the $0 deductible/$0 co-pay for almost all dental work or the free contact lenses all year for my wife. All those years I worked for both large, international corporations and small, independent companies, I never had a health plan like this one for educators and their families. My wife worked for a private school in California, and they didn’t even offer insurance. Even when we start a family, the rate will go up to only $349 a month with all the same coverage…so I guess she will have to continue working there forever. (kidding, honey…kind of) However, signing up for this plan reminds me of how lucky we are, and I do think that every single family and individual in the country should have plans like this available to them, and it is incredibly unfortunate that they don’t. It’s a national embarrassment, really, and I hope one day everyone can have medical coverage like this!