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Overpaying For Health Insurance Makes Me Sick. How I saved $163/month

Let me start by saying that I am Canadian. As you may know, health care is absolutely free in my native country. I remained uninsured for years, assuming that I would flee to Canada if I ever needed medical assistance. My father finally convinced me that I was definitely going to get run down by a cab since I’m such a bad pedestrian, and I joined the rest of poor American suckers and bought health insurance.

Since modeling is freelance work, I joined the freelancers union where I was paying $265 for decent insurance with pretty high deductibles ($3k) and co-pays ($30 for primary and $55 for specialist). It then went up to $319, and then again in January went up to $345, and I was not getting more extensive coverage.

That’s when I put my foot down…and if you’re over paying for health insurance, then so should you.

Most people are offered health insurance benefits through their work, and although this may seem as though the most cost effective and convenient option, oftentimes people over-insure themselves this way. If you’re relatively healthy, you may not require such expensive, in-depth coverage, plus insurance premiums are often based on the overall health of the group, so you could end up paying more. Usually at the beginning of the year, insurance companies offer the chance to change coverage during open enrollment. It’s important to make sure you look at your options since plans change every year, and not always for the better.

I knew that I was absolutely over-insuring myself – paying for extensive coverage that I just wasn’t using (almost $3800/year for just my annual exams?!). I cancelled my coverage and used www.ehealthinsurance.com to find a new plan. I chose Empire Blue’s Tradition Plus Hospital program. It’s $182/month and covers preventative care (my physical/pap) and any hospital charges in case of an emergency. Sure, if I get a weird rash or something I’ll have to pay out of pocket, but with the money I’m saving monthly, I don’t mind paying the couple of hundred of my own money because I’m still out ahead.

Thinking of getting preggers?? Plan ahead and upgrade your coverage so that you’re prepared for the maternity fees that will be worth the higher premiums.

Tips for working with your high-deductible/emergency-only plan:

– Call your doctor before scheduling an appointment for non-urgent matters, because they may be able to write you a prescription over the phone (like for a yeast infection)

– Select generic instead of brand-name drugs

– Take advantage of prescription plans offered by pharmacies like walgreens and duane reade that offer substantial discounts on meds (check out Walgreens Prescription Savings Club)

– When you do have to visit the doctor, make them aware that you do not have coverage and inquire about a discount. Many doctors will work out a better deal for you.

– Planned parenthood clinics are great for inexpensive care/tests/birthcontrol

This worked for me because I’m young, healthy and I knew I was getting ripped off with my old coverage. You obviously can never forsee the future and what you may require, but TFM is counting on not getting any strange rashes….or encountering any crazy taxi drivers.


  1. I was looking at it too.I pay way too much.About 500 a month.
    Tradition Plus Hospital program basically covers ONLY the hospital room thou.I was on the phone with them
    forever. So if you ever do get hit by a car you still have to pay all the medical charges :/ and those are the charges you wanna be covered for

  2. Hi! I received the booklet yesterday outlining all that is covered and as long as you’re at a participating facility, 100% of the hospital bills are covered. The catch is that the surgeon (a specialist) and the anesthesiologist (specialist) could still potentially bill you since they are not technically hospital employees. So you’re right, if you need serious surgery you could still end up with some hefty bills, but your annual preventative care is covered and the use of all of the hospital and ambulatory devices/tools are all covered.

  3. Also Care Credit is now becoming popular to use for dentistry, cosmetic, optometry, chiropractic, hearing and vet services to help defray the high costs of some procedures and avoid high insurance fees unnecessarily.

  4. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. How did this plan work out for you? I am considering getting it. i am also young and healthy

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