I just opened a letter from our health insurance provider with the same happy news they send at the end of every December: our premiums are going up. They’ve gone up between ten and twenty percent every year for the last decade. Since I’m considered “self-employed” we pay all of our premiums out of pocket, so I’m much more sensitive to the cost than I was when I worked for bigger companies.

Every December I grumble a bit about another 15% (or so) rise in our insurance costs, but every December we decide to soldier on and continue paying. We have a high-deductible plan ($7,000) which means the only thing the company will ever pay for is something truly serious like heart surgery or a kidney transplant or whatever. Last summer when Kyra had her mysterious illness for several weeks, we racked up $5,000 in hospital and specialist fees, and paid every cent out of pocket. That was a good time, let me tell you.

This year’s letter says we’re going to see an astounding 45% increase in our premiums. I can’t even imagine what would trigger an increase like that. The letter claims that all of the people covered by similar plans are subject to the same jump in price, so I suspect a lot of others are unhappy like me.

Now I’m seriously considering whether to have health insurance at all. We’re a healthy family: none of us really get anything more serious than a cold once a year or so. We have no major health problems, and Kyra’s incident was the only time in the last fifteen years we’ve gone to a doctor for anything more than a mild case of strep. If we’re paying close to $10,000 a year and then paying $5,000 when someone gets really sick, what’s the point? I should throw out the insurance and spend that money on a sweet family vacation or something.

Grrr. The health care industry sucks. And the insurance industry.