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Old 07-13-2018, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default Health Insurance as a Low-Time Pilot

I'm 28 years old, unmarried, no kids, currently employed full time in a non-aviation career and have health insurance through my employer's plan. I'll be changing careers later this year, and am trying to decide how to handle healthcare. I'm planning to become a flight instructor or do aerial survey to build time with the plan of landing at a regional within 2 years. I would imagine very few low-time pilot jobs provide health coverage and I think it would probably be easier to just do my own thing.

I'm currently in great health. I haven't "gone to the doctor" or gotten prescriptions in a few years. I get a physical, blood work, and an EKG stress test done annually through my employer, and everything has always come back looking good.

It would be a 99% chance I could make it to the regionals without using any medical services or prescription medications in the interim, but I can't predict the future, and would want to have a very high deductible plan to cover me in the event of something serious.

Is anyone in a similar scenario? Any advice?
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Old 07-14-2018, 10:14 PM   #2
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Disclaimer: I'm not offering any advice or counsel. I didn't do survey, this is Just my opinion on the matter.

My wife had a HDHP at $150/month for just her. There was a period when I didn't have insurance and to add me, the cost would jump to $800/month. That's a jump from $1800 annually to almost $10,000. You'd better believe I started looking long and hard at the difference between the federal penalty for not having coverage... I'm also in the "never sick, never go to the doctor" crowd. Just the biannual dental visit, and annual AME visit.

You'd have to look long and hard at several factors. One, just how much are you even going to take away after taxes each month? A high deductible plan is going to cost the most, and unless you're on an employer-sponsored group plan, it'll be pricey. You're not likely to have those with this low time jobs. Secondly, you'll have to look carefully at coverage and networks. Some make you choose a primary physician, then charge you more for non-network or an in-network doctor without a referral from your primary. If you end up doing survey, guaranteed you'll be on the road. Would any potential medical visit be an "out of network" visit when you're on a different state? I don't know. And third, look at the cost versus risk. What's the cost of a lower deductible or HSA? You said it yourself, you never go to the doctor and you're probably not ever going to need it. And that's where the risk is. Pay lower premiums and be on the hook for more out of pocket (but it's not likely), or pay higher premiums as a safety net just in case. With either plan you'd probably still be on the hook for a considerable hospital bill and you'll probably never use the copay to visit your doctor. So I'd be tempted to go with the cheapest plan because, to be macabre for a moment, in that line of work I'd probably have a greater chance to end up dying in a plane crash than needing to go to the ER and have an appendectomy or whatever. If I ended up in the hospital, with my luck they'd find a way to shift a lot of the cost on me regardless of whether I had a higher or lower out of pocket limit. I'd just watch what I eat, exercise when able, stay safe, minimize every risk possible, and just take the most adorable coverage
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