Monday, December 8, 2008

A College Student and Health Insurance Costs

I just found an online search engine for health insurance plans: eHealthInsurance. Simply put in your area code, birth date, and a few other details, and it will find all the local plans for you, with information on copay, deductibles, etc. Try it out!

I searched for my criteria, a college student in suburban New Jersey. The rates aren't amazing (New Jersey is a guaranteed-issue state, which forces private insurers to accept high-risk customers) but I was able to find a few good deals, not limited to:

- $128.45/mo, with $0 deductible and 0% coinsurance
- $132.60/mo, with $0 deductible and 30% coinsurance, with the first $700 of doctor's visits paid in full
- $154.00/mo, with $0 deductible and 0% coinsurance, with $30 doctor's visits

Now, compare these monthly figures with some other expenses...

- I looked up the local individual cell phone rates from Verizon. The cost was $39.99/mo for the most basic plan, and $99.99/mo for unlimited minutes.

- I just called up the local cable company, the cost of cable with internet they gave me, after the rebates wear off, is $84.85/mo.

- According to this Canadian beer delivery site, I can get 24 bottles of Coors Light delivered for $37.50. Six beers a week isn't unreasonable at all for a college-aged male, so this figure can be considered monthly. Also, while not a local rate, I'll use this as a baseline to factor in pizza or some other beer-related variable.

Hmmm, now if I add these up--even if I use the very basic Verizon coverage--I get a figure of $162.34 per month, which is more than what health insurance would cost me. If I were faced with hard times, and I had to choose between these luxuries or having health insurance, I'd be able to go with the health insurance. Which is a nice segue into this Reason.TV segment...

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