When I started my company in 1993, we had 1 employee, me. When we started hiring employees a year or so later, all of the information said that in order to attract and retain the best employees you had to offer a comprehensive benefits package including healthcare. By 1995, we had 5 employees and our healthcare cost was around $500 per person. By 2000 I had gotten married and had my first son and our healthcare costs for my family of 3 was $1,095 per month. By the time we added our 2nd child in 2002, it went up to $1,195 per month. By the time we had our third child in 2006, my wife and I had were both over 40 and we had three kids and our coverage was $1,295 per month. Then, Obama got elected.
My prior healthcare plan was a “Caddilac Plan” that offered higher premiums in exchange for lower out of pocket costs and $0 co-pays. Literally “Free Healthcare” for our employees, but not free to me, very expensive of the company. By 2008 when I started my venture group and Obama Care started to impact the healthcare marketplace costs rose every year. It used to be that rates were in tiers and adjusted every year based on age. The new law had rates changing every month. So literally as we added new employees and our existing employees got older or had kids and added to their family the costs skyrocketed. Since we had enough employees at the time that someone had a birthday every month, so popular months like May and November had multiple birthdays in a given month, the costs were insane.
From 2008–2018 the healthcare costs for my family went from $1,295 per month to $1,495, $1,695, $1,895, $2,195, $2,395, $2,695, $2,895, $3,195, $3,495, $3,695. For 2018 our costs were going to be $4,195 per month for my family of 5. I finally said, “Fuck this and fuck you!” I notified our employees they could get their own coverage on the healthcare marketplace and I decided to self insure. We were going to be asked to pay $50,340 per year in healthcare for my family of 5. That is more than the average family in the US makes in a year. But because we evil “rich people” make more money we were going to be asked to pay “our fair share” of the costs. Well, you know what, fuck that! No way. You people have gotten enough of my money already. I went off the grid and I started to self insure. It was a bit scary at first, but once I got the hang of it, I actually liked it.
One of the first issues I had was a trip to the Emergency Room for a serious allergic reaction I had. The registration person came in to check me in and to get payment and asked “Is your insurance still the same?” and I said, “No, I have no more insurance.” She looked stunned. She said, “well you know this is going to be a lot more expensive than you are used to.” I said “Well, my ER co-pay back in 2008 was $100. By 2010 it was $150 and by 2018 it was $200. How much is it if I self pay?” She didn’t even know, she had to look it up. Nobody had ever come in without insurance. She looked it up and she said: “The cost is $295”. I literally started laughing out loud. So, let me get this straight, I saved $4,195 this month by not paying insurance just to avoid paying $95 more? That is insane.”
In a more recent trip to the ER for a much more serious infection I was treated with IV antibiotics and IV pain meds and I was sure that this was going to cost me more. Nope. They did a lab test and everything. When the person came by I asked them again about the costs this time. She said, “Well, for the services you have received so far we will bill your insurance $2,100.” I was a bit shocked after my prior $295 trip to the ER but was Ok with that then I uttered the magic words as if I was a fucking healthcare wizard… “I am SELF-PAY”. She looks at me as if I had conjured up demons from hell and said “Oh, well we have FREE insurance for SELF-PAY people and your out of pocket cost today will be $500… Oh, plus $25 for the tests.” Oh My Fucking God! $525 for emergency healthcare coverage by an entire team of healthcare professionals including IV antibiotics and IV pain meds. Where do I pay! Sign me up. She says “Oh, you don’t pay now, we will just bill you for it. What planet am I living on?! What the hell?!
Since stopping healthcare coverage, my out of pocket expense is about $600 in prescription meds, but that is only because 2 of the ones I am on are $325 and $175 respectively, and others are still $10-$20 each out of pocket which is what they were when I had insurance. I use apps like GoodRx and I find low-cost places to fill my prescriptions. My favorite is Kroger Pharmacy. I have one prescription that was $185 at CVS that is $35 at Kroger. Don’t ask me why. I don’t even care why. All I know is that by not paying $50,000 over the last year, and paying out of pocket for everything my total costs have been around $10,000 for all doctors visits. I saved $40,000 or around $3,000 per month. My cost is right around $1,000 per month paying out of pocket. If I got the cheapest healthcare coverage in the healthcare marketplace it is $417 per month for coverage and all my out of pocket costs would be roughly the same as they are now using “SELF-PAY”. It is all a scam.
Don’t be fooled, my friends. Do the math. FREE healthcare is not free. Someone is paying for it. Don’t let Bernie Sanders or any other morons talk you into the stupid shit. Everyone should just go back to paying cash for services and the cost of healthcare services will drop by 75% or more. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need coverage, you don’t.