January 14, 2015

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director at GlobalWealthProtection.com

save thousands on obamacareOver the holidays, I was in the U.S. visiting family and friends. One of my stops was a close friend that lives in Washington, DC (a.k.a. “Belly of the Beast”).  While in DC and discussing healthcare costs with my buddy, I had an epiphany. Living outside the US saves me enough in healthcare costs to afford a round trip plane ticket from Europe to the US every month.

Costs have really gotten out of control. Everyone I talk to seems to have really gotten the shaft from the “Affordable Care Act” – unaffectionately known as Obamacare. I have yet to hear a story from anyone claiming to have either saved money on healthcare costs or improved the quality of their plan.

Contrast that with my personal example:

Just a couple of weeks ago, I renewed my health insurance for another 12 months.  In Latvia, you must have health insurance that covers major catastrophes in order to become a resident. Considering the low cost of healthcare here, I went with a high deductible plan that only pays once you meet your deductible. There are no co-pays, no 70/30 or 80/20 rules, no pre-existing condition requirements, and no provider network restrictions. My deductible is a flat 10,000 euros (about $12,000) per year. I pay it all up to that point. After that, I provide the insurance company data and they pay the rest from there. Simple.

My annual premium is a whopping 38 euros (about $45). Yes, you read that correct. My ANNUAL premium.

“How is the quality, cost, and timeliness of healthcare in Latvia?” you may ask. It is quite good. Every doctor, dentist or hospital I have visited has been very clean, professional and has the latest equipment. Doctors and nurses are well-educated and very efficient.

In fact, a few months ago, I had an excruciating tooth ache. It started out bad and after a couple of days it felt like Thor, son of Odin, was banging on my tooth with his hammer. At midnight on a Sunday I decide that enough was enough. I called a taxi and told the driver the address of the emergency dental clinic. Once I arrived, the receptionist gave me a form to complete. After about 15 minutes I was called into the dentist’s chair.

Emergency root canal.

For someone who has never had a cavity, this sounded about as pleasant as having an emergency castration. I won’t sugarcoat it. The root canal was unpleasant, to say the least. I’m pretty sure the dentist touched my soul with his needle. However it was relatively quick – about 20-25 minutes. When finished, I was presented with the bill. 50 euros. Yes, I paid 50 euros (about $60) for an emergency root canal at midnight on a Sunday.

It will take a long, long time to reach my 10,000 euro deductible at that rate. My best guess is that in the US, you would pay around $1500 for the same procedure.  After running through the Obamacare website, it looks like I would pay about $1000 per month for health insurance in the US. That is an annual cost of $12,000. Considering I pay about $45 per year now for health insurance, that leaves me with a lot of money to buy plane tickets. Of course, the cost of insurance is just one factor. Even with a $12,000 annual premium, I would still have a $5000 deductible, plus the cost of all the copays.

In case you are wondering, if you are a non-US resident, you do not have an obligation to meet the Obamacare requirements. You do not need to provide proof of health insurance in the US or suffer the consequences of fines. You are free to choose your own $45 per year plan… and save 10’s of thousands per year in healthcare costs.  Reason # 1,683 I don’t live in the US.