Making insurance affordable with more options

March 4, 2012 Ryan Schuster

Health care expenses seem to come in waves for my family. Just when you think you've had a few years where (knock on wood) you haven't had as many medical bills – the floodgates open. That was exactly what happened to me in the last year or so. Both of my daughters ended up with casts on their arms at different times of the year (they were both pink) after injuries suffered at school. My 7 year old also had to be admitted to the hospital and have surgery on her foot to remove the tip of a colored pencil that had punctured the skin and melted inside her foot (yes, it actually melted). Medical bills can add up quickly, especially when you have kids.

It's impossible to predict when you will get sick, if you will develop a serious illness (or when your daughter will get a colored pencil stuck in her foot). That's why we have insurance. While health care costs continue to rise, leading to higher premiums, it is important to note that because we have insurance we typically only pay a fraction of our medical costs. Insurance works by pooling together members, like in a group plan offered by your employer. The average age, past claims history and how healthy the members of the group are as well as the plan design influence the premiums you pay. To determine premium amounts, each year BCBSND estimates how much health care members will use, how much that care will cost and the costs to administer that care.

We're concerned about health care costs and we're doing everything possible to keep our insurance affordable for families and individuals, so they have a safety net in case of emergency or unexpected medical bills. We're providing members with more choices of deductible and co-insurance amounts so you can customize the coverage you want that fits your budget. We've also introduced high deductible plans that can be coupled with health savings accounts. We're offering you more choices and more options – so that if your daughter does end up in a pink cast or gets a colored pencil stuck in her foot, you'll at least have the peace of mind of knowing that you have health insurance and you won't have to pay all the bills yourself.