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I have been making my annual $1.5k health insurance payments to Blue Cross and now it feels like I am pouring money down the drain year after year!

Since I exercise daily, eat healthy and keep myself fit in general, I have been to the doctor only twice since the last 3 years:

  1. Had food poisoning from a party. Went to emergency and paid $50 out of pocket for advice that my body hopefully had purged the offending item and I was safe to go home.

  2. My yearly flushots: I pay $15, again out of pocket! It would have been nice to have Blue Cross pay atleast 1% of what I pay them every year!

I really don't want to see the $1.5k health insurance payments going down the drain year after year, if I can help it.

Don't want to dump health insurance away completely, but I was wondering if there is a way to get "more bang for the buck"?

For example, are there any hidden clauses in the general health insurance agreement that might actually work for me?

For instance, what about "some way" of having my health insurance premiums be combined with Life insurance and a certain portion of the unclaimed amounts getting transferred to Life insurance or the like?

Is there any way out from letting the money disappear into a black hole?

Any benefit(s) that I can get out of your advice is good - need not affect me directly. For example, if there is even a clause where I can have a portion of the unused claims be donated to charity, Red Cross, etc, I will be more than happy.

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    Did you provide your insurance to the doctors you did visit? If so, likely your out of pocket costs are but a fraction of the bill and insurance made up the rest. – MrChrister Aug 26 '11 at 16:52
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Insurance is mostly for covering against catastrophic events, it's not something that must be helpful to you every day.

Sounds like you health is okay and you don't mind paying some cash in case of minor events. You could try to find a policy where coverage kicks in only once an incident is big enough (high deductible) - in such cases you payments will be significantly lower because you'll be unable to apply with minor incidents and that saves money to the insurance company and you're still covered against catastrophic events.

  • As I am a F1 student, my University requires me to have certain kinds of insurance and they highly recommend the plan I am on. Without making great changes to the current plan, is there a way I can save/divert some money? For example, could I have the flu shots, vitamins, protein whey costs paid for by my provider? – f1StudentInUS Aug 1 '11 at 6:09
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    @f1StudentInUS: Only you can tell that after reading all the fine print (which you should do anyway) and perhaps checking with the insurance company. Also you say they "highly recommend" - but what do the law and other regulations say? – sharptooth Aug 1 '11 at 6:13
  • I will review the TOS. The law requires me to have a certain standard of coverage. The Univ. though, made me sign a contract that binds me to the provider, but perhaps there should be a way out. I am confused if this is a "personal insurance"? Also, I was thinking along the lines of HSA, although me being an alien could be an impediment. – f1StudentInUS Aug 1 '11 at 6:38
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    @F1StudentInUS - You could have legal recourse here as it sounds like there could be some anticompetitive actions between the univeristy and the Insurer. Unfortunatly if you are here on a student visa they sort of have you over a barrel. If they kick you out of the univ you lose your visa and basically everything you have done at the university. If you have an immigration lawyer you should talk with them about this contract make sure it is legal. If it is you are under contract and breaking that contract could cost you your visa. – user4127 Aug 26 '11 at 16:56
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Is there any way out from letting the money disappear into a black hole?

But that is the whole point of insurance; the "black hole" = the insurance company. That's how they stay in business. You are giving up your money to them, but you get something in return: a guarantee of financial rescue if something happens to you medically. Considering how much health care costs can cost in the U.S., this is not insubstantial.

To the degree that you might be able to divert some of that money out of the "black hole" and back into your pocket, or a charity, would be equivalent to reducing your premium costs. There are few ways to do that, but none too significantly. E.g., sometimes plans have health programs that customers can participate in and get a small discount, etc. But for the most part, you are stuck. Welcome to the U.S. Health Care System.

One tiny tip: see if your school offers a free flu shot this fall; many do, it seems, so there is $15 saved. The school's human resources office would probably know about this.

  • The flu shot is indeed subsidized to $5. What I am wondering is can't I get some kind of discount or some coverage if I took preventive medication like vitamins or vaccines? – f1StudentInUS Aug 26 '11 at 21:38
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    @f1StudentInUS You are likely in a "group" plan, which I think tends to mean that individual differences in lifestyle aren't counted for much, since the insurer just automatically will take every person in the group. I'd check with your school's benefits administrators and ask if there is anything, though. My (work) group plan has a $120 bonus that one can earn by signing up for a certain amount of health-related "points" programs. – Chelonian Aug 28 '11 at 2:08
  • I'm not sure if this was true in 2011, but nowadays, health plans are required to cover the cost of a flu shot with no copay, as preventative care. – stannius Dec 14 '15 at 16:33

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