Sep 5, 2007

Interesting Health Insurance Alternative: Discount Warehouse Plans

I just learned from Getting Green that Sam's Club is going to offer a health insurance plan and that Costco already does. So I went to the Costco web site and sure enough, it's there under "Services" (along with a separate dental plan), though it's only available to California residents with the Executive level membership. The Executive level is $100 per year, so only $50 more than "regular" (Goldstar) membership, and presumably you'll more than make that up with just one doctor's visit if you weren't insured to begin with.

I didn't want to enter my personal information to get a quote for an idea of the rates, but it appears that they keep costs low by accepting healthy people only (there's a pretty long list of disqualifying conditions, including pregnancy). The length of the disqualifying conditions list gave me the impression that they would be stingy about paying claims - I have no idea if that's the case, but it would certainly give me pause if I were thinking of signing up for the plan. After all, what's the point of an insurance plan that doesn't pay out?

Nevertheless, if I wasn't covered under an employer's plan, I would definitely look into discount warehouse plans as an alternative. Does anyone have any experience with them?


MetaMommy said...

I don't have any experience with such plans, but personally I prefer the lure of the Health Savings Account plans. Any limited medical insurance plan I've seen before is faux medical insurance that doesn't cover you in a real emergency, which is the primary purpose of the insurance to begin with. Here's a good breakdown of the HSA plans.

ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

MetaMommy - Good point!

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right. What's the use of an insurance policy if it doesn't pay out. Metamommy's right. HSA's are probably going to gain more popularity. I hope this all leads to more choices for consumers.