Cost of "affordable healthcare" in the United States

So I was in the middle of another bog post about what influenced our decision to move abroad for a season, with our 3 children (ages 3, 6 and 9).

Affordable health care ranked in the top three for each of us. I quoted a number off the cuff about what I thought it would cost to insure our family of 5 in the United States. My guess was $2,000.

I also prepare United States personal income tax returns for a living, so with the new W2 reporting requirement, I am pretty aware of what health care costs are for companies offering it to their employees, but I hadn't shopped for insurance on the individual market for quite some time. 

The experiment was eye opening to say the least. First of all, in my home state of Oregon, where we lived for the summer with no health insurance, it appears that we would not have even been able to purchase a "major medical plan" since we had no "qualifying reason" to be able to enroll during a non-open enrollment period. 

If you are a non-native English speaker reading this... possibly using google translate to help you, I apologize for the confusing terminology. Welcome to our health care system. Honestly, I'm confused too. 

So technically, under Obamacare, we would be subject to the penalty for not having health care, even though we were ineligible to obtain it to begin with. 

But that aside, lets get back to looking at the cost (and what you get for your money). 

So we could have purchased one of these short term plans... BUT they suck... pretty much. And why would I spend money on them except to protect myself from the outrageous cost of a health care emergency in the United States.

Here's a plan I found on

$102 per month... not bad. Except that the deductible is $15,000 so basically I'm still paying for everything out pocket, despite the fact that I have insurance. 

Here's the most expensive plan they offer:

Almost $1700 per month! We could almost live off of that amount here in Mazatlan every month. And look... even then we are responsible for the first $3,000 in expenses. Wtf! How is that affordable? Basically we have to spend over $23,000 on health care in a year (1694.09 x 12 + $3,000) before insurance will cover anything. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure "co-pays" don't count towards deductibles or out of pocket maximums... so there's that too.

Do you realize that in Mexico, the cost of a regular doctor visit without insurance is similar to (or less) than the cost of just the co-pay in the United States. 

Warning... rant to come:

Our health care system in the United States is OUT OF CONTROL and in no way, shape, or form "affordable" to the American middle class. 

Is our medical system top notch? Yes. 

Do we provide quality healthcare in sanitary and safe environments? I'd like to think yes. 

But "affordable" would never be a word I would use to describe a routine check up at my kids pediatrician with out any vaccines, or additional testing, ringing in at upwards of $200 US. We opted NOT to pay this outrageous fee for the routine checkups after polling our Facebook friends... you can see their responses here:

The insurance companies have taken over. They are the reason that our health care costs are sky rocketing.

What if we could go back to a simpler time, when we could pay our doctor a reasonable rate for his or her time. Where we could choose what doctor to see, instead of letting the insurance companies dictate to us who is "in network" or "out of network", basically who is covered and who is not. 

I suppose by moving to Mexico, that is essentially what we have done. The health care we have received here feels just as good as in the United States. Yes, maybe we have to go down the street to a different office to have X-rays taken sometimes, because EVERY SINGLE OFFICE doesn't have all the modern technology that most offices in the US have. And maybe we have to pay cash at the time of our visit instead of waiting weeks or months for the insurance company to decide what portion of the bill they will cover. 

But overall, the doctors are more friendly and personable, and more available than in the United States. My recent experience finding a dentist here in Mazatlan to fill a cavity for my daughter is an excellent example:

I posted in a Facebook group here (consisting predominately of English speaking expats) that I was looking for an English speaking dentist that could fill a cavity for my 9 year old when we arrived in Mazatlan on Monday. I received lots of recommendations, and two of the people that were referred and tagged on Facebook actually reached out to me directly via Messenger. 

How great is that?! I was not looking forward to having to go through the list and contact offices directly via phone... where I may or may not (most likely not) get a receptionist who speaks English. 

I was able to correspond directly with the dentist herself, obtain prices and make an appointment for the evening after we arrived. She fixed the cavity, and cleaned and checked my other two kids' teeth for $874 pesos (the equivalent of about $47 US at the current exchange rate.

I'd love to talk about my braces now too, but I'm out of time. The restaurant that I'm working at already brought me a free drink ๐Ÿนso I've stayed longer than I intended. I will have to leave that subject for another day.

Have a question for us or a personal experience with the outrageous cost of US healthcare? Please leave a comment below ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

I love to hear from you.


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