I just changed my health insurance plan today. I will in all likelihood be changing again in about a year.
Like many individuals and businesses, I am trying to sort out the changes that are coming as Obamacare will be implemented at about this time next year. So I spent a bit of time grilling my insurance agent today.
The following is my best guess as to my options come next year. I can stick with my plan, which has an $11,000 deductible and costs us (wife and kid too) about $450 per month, though that amount might rise. Or, I can scrap my plan entirely and pay a $750 penalty/tax. That amount is less than two months worth of premiums. Now if I or any family member were to get seriously ill or have an accident such that we needed expensive care, we can sign up for insurance at that time. It would certainly cost more than my current plan, but I could then scrap the plan again once I have received my medical care.
As a math question this is rather easy. It makes no sense to buy insurance for $450 per month when I essentially already have insurance, insofar as I can buy it despite any pre-existing condition. Instead, I merely pay a $750 tax which amounts to less than 2 months worth of worthless insurance coverage. So, from a dollars and good sense perspective, I should drop my coverage and thereafter buy and scrap insurance as needed.
But is there a moral element that I am missing? Do I have an obligation as a citizen to contribute to the general welfare of others via my participation in an insurance program? Is it OK to be a free rider?
At this point, my answers are no, no and yes, respectively. The government has passed a law which creates huge incentives for me to drop my health insurance, coupled with disincentives, in the form of huge premium increases, for keeping my insurance. I don't feel a moral obligation to try to prop up a poorly designed system via my participation in a health plan. The system will certainly collapse and I hope that what replaces it is not, as I fear, even worse.