21 March 2009


Yesterday's mail crushed any remaining qualms about moving to Canada. We received the annual notice of the increase in our health insurance premium. It's rising from $412/month to $466.50/month, or by $654/year. That's a 13% increase. And the insurer (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) again raised our annual deductible, this time from $5,700 to $6,000. So if we had medical costs, we'd pay $11,598 over the next year out of pocket before the insurer paid one dime.

Our last three annual premium increases have averaged 19% (including a huge increase in 2007 when I had the gall to reach age 50). Next month we'll begin paying a premium 69% greater than the premium we paid in January 2007 when we signed on with this insurer. And we're relatively healthy. We've cost the insurer $300 per year each in 2007 and 2008--the amount our insurer will pay toward an annual physical exam, deductible notwithstanding. If the 19% average annual increase we've experienced persists until I'm eligible for Medicare at age 65 (assuming Medicare hasn't long gone bust), our annual premium would reach $45,144

Blue Cross/Blue Shield's partial explanation of the premium jump? "Covered individuals are using more services." Wow. In other words, if y'all would just stop seeking medical care, then we could  slow down the rate of increase in the cost of the insurance that you'd then never need because you'd not be seeking medical care anyway. I've know of no bigger racket outside of Las Vegas.

Yep, in Canada a part of the taxes we'll pay, as well as a relatively modest, income-adjusted monthly premium, will go to pay for the country's universal health insurance system. Since per capita healthcare expenditures in Canada are one-half of those in the U.S., and since Canada ranks above the U.S. by virtually every measure of healthfulness, I'm guessing we'll come out ahead.

11 March 2009

We're Moving to Nanaimo

Well looks like we're moving. For me the major deciding factors, in more or less order of importance, are:
  1. The idyllic setting here and much wild-ness and ready opportunity for outdoor adventure and commune on Vancouver Island
  2. The huge appeal of being covered by a first-world health insurance system.
  3. As best I can tell, by and large, Canadians don't admire and aspire to ignorance, belligerence, and arrogance--in other words, they're civilized, mostly.
  4. The much more sensible lifestyle (compared to a city/suburb) we can adopt here while still being able easily to enjoy city fun in nearby Vancouver. (I see this part as a welcome return to the lifestyle I enjoyed when I lived in Frederick, Maryland in the 1980s: Baltimore and D.C. were close, but not too close, while Frederick offered a charming downtown, parks and services within an easy walk, and a small-town atmosphere.)
  5. The climate is much milder than Minnesota's, something I think will become more important, even for cold-loving me, as we get old(er).
  6. My penchant for prudent adventure and shaking things up periodically.
Our goal is to move August 1st. I'll be back in Minnesota April 3rd. Laurie will spend a couple of weeks with family in California, then join me. We've got A TON of stuff to do to prepare to move. If we decide to try to sell (vs. rent) the house, we'd like to get it on the market no later than June 1st, and I needn't mention the stress level associated with trying to sell a house in the U.S. right now. Somehow we'll get it all done. Or we won't, and in the end it won't matter anyway. :-)