I was contacted by a public relations firm to give a review on Health Care on Less Than You Think: The New York Times Guide to Getting Affordable Coverage (amazon referral link) by Fred Brock. I received a copy of the book for free, but I am not receiving monetary compensation for this review. What I have to say about this book is my honest opinion.
With that said, here’s my thoughts…
The beginning of Health Care on Less Than You Think starts off with some sobering stories of individuals that have had their financial life rocked by medical costs. Even more surprising is the number of those people that HAD health insurance. Obtaining health insurance has been a priority of mine, but I have been dragging my feet with doing it. After reading what some of those people have paid for medical procedures – it really sunk in that one problem could easily rack up over $5,000 in medical bills. Needless to say, my application is in process as I announced yesterday.
Reading further, Mr. Brock details exactly how much extra an uninsured person has to pay for the same services that an insured person receives. I knew that happened, and feel that it is VERY unfair to charge those without health insurance a different price. I just didn’t know how much more. Can you believe that an uninsured person would have to pay a bill of $30,000 when an insured person (and their insurance company) would be paying $7,000?
Mr. Brock gives great advice on how to try to save money if you are uninsured, such as negotiating and auditing your medical care bills. He also explains those big words you find associated with health insurance policies. Finally, I really understand how coinsurance, deductible and out of pocket maximums work!
I’ve also finally learned about Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s). An entire chapter is decidated to helping the reader understand how they work and how they can be very advantageous or disadvantageous. After reading that chapter, I quickly looked up available HSA plans on ehealthinsurance.com. Unfortunately, none of them covered pregnancy and all of them required medical records. At this time, I feel confident saying that a HSA plan is not for us.
Overall, this book made me feel like a confident shopper when it came to finally choosing a plan for our family. I also feel more confident knowing some things that I can do to help save money when it comes to health care and prescription drugs. Knowing what I know now, I feel that Health Care on Less Than You Think (amazon referral link) will end up saving us money in the future.
Just a note, some things I did already know about – such as asking for an itemized hospital bill and checking for any mistakes. There will probaby be some things you may have heard about in this book as well. But, if you are fairly new to how health insurance works and want to learn more, this is an easy-to-read and understand book. I particulary enjoyed the real-life examples that Mr. Brock detailed throughout the book.
To conclude, this book was very helpful to me since our health care was a big decision I was facing. I am glad I was given the opportunity to read it.
Certain medical procedures (such as uncomplicated childbirth) can be prepaid by those who do not have insurance, for a substantial discount. I mention this because sometimes it is more cost effective to go with a more “catastrophic” policy, which only kicks in after a high ($5000 for example) deductible. Older people or those with pre-existing health conditions can sometimes save quite a bit by purchasing such a plan, and then by using the money that would otherwise be spent for exorbitant premiums to prepay. Once you have any kind of medical problem documented on your medical history, it becomes a whole new ball game. I know someone who was denied coverage due to “obesity” and this individual certainly does NOT look heavy.