Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Healthcare Lifehack

Lifehacker is an inspiring place to go to for clever tips for optimizing your life. Whether its saving money on energy, defeating procrastination or learning how to work a room, they've probably got advice on how you could be doing whatever it is you're doing better. In pursuit of the ideal of adding value, I wanted to highlight a recent win I discovered which, inexplicably, isn't covered by Lifehacker.*

If you're married to someone else with a job, chances are one of you picks the health insurance and you both get on it and trust that the market generally serves equal pricing. In our case, we went with my wife's under the lazy reasoning that her employer (Tenet Health, a healthcare company) would provide good health coverage at a competitive price.

One again the old adage proved true, when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME. I don't routinely examine my wife's pay stubs, nor she mine, but when I finally took a look I noticed what I first thought a typo, over $250 per pay period deducted for health insurance. Nope. We were paying over $500 a month for health insurance.

 A little digging revealed that we could save $150 a month by switching each of us to our own employers' plans. Better yet, we could save $200 a month by going straight to mine. We made the switch and are now enjoying an additional two fancy dinners each month.

The applicable point here is that the costs of group health insurance plans are not consistent and not a given. In a relationship where you might have options, you should research all three potential choices: both on hers, both on his (or hers again), or each on his (or her) own.

*Not incidentally, Lifehacker does have a Tips email address wherein users can 'Suggest a post': tips@lifehacker.org (And I just might do so)

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