If you do not work somewhere that covers your health care, health insurance premiums have most likely become a major source of frustration for you over the past several years.
The problem is even more acute for small business owners who not only have a family to cover, but need to offer coverage to employees in order to attract talent. It's nearly $800 in our area for a family plan (family of 4) that has a $1000 deductible, $25 co-pay and 20% coinsurance which is by no means a small deductible. It's no wonder employees are being asked to pick up part of the tab. I mentioned this to my insurance agent and he simply shrugged and said "That's the way all these plans are going". Wow! I'm certainly glad my wife and I switched to the combination of a High Deductible Insurance Plan (hdhp) and a Health Savings Account (HSA) a few years ago.Looking at a $5000 deductible plan that didn't have any coinsurance and was HSA qualified the same family could save almost $300 per month. After the first year they would've saved enough premium to cover the difference in deductible and most likely be money ahead. If they opened a Health Savings Account to go along with his HDHP then he could simply put the $294 he saves each month into the HSA and let it accumulate until a member of his family needs medical attention. If you have children who are often sick during the school year it may be beneficial to start your plan right after flu season ends so you have a few months for your balance to grow. You can't use the HSA to pay expenses until after it has had time to accumulate in the account, so this is different than FSA plans. There is a big advantage however that makes the HSA much more beneficial than the FSA and that is that money not used in one calendar year can be rolled over and used the following year. After just 4 years we have built up a nice balance in our account despite the fact that we used it for all our Dr, dentist and orthodontist visits (it paid for our daughter's braces) as well as glasses and eye care for all of us.Government regulations also require that HSA compatible plans must take care of annual screenings such as mammograms and physicals as well. So there is no reason for people with health savings accounts to get a lower level of health care. At the time we got our HSA I hadn't had an annual physical before, now I have them once a year. If you are running into sticker shock searching for health insurance coverage, make sure you explore the HSA / HDHP combination as it can drastically reduce your long term health care costs.