Eli and Ms. Rabett are moving on in years, and although they have excellent health insurance through Eli's employer, they had some health problems last year. As part of the insurance company's efforts to reduce costs, it provides receipts for each claim, and gee, the Bunnies had a lot last year, over 50 of them and some were large. When you get old, Mom Rabett used to say, your social life becomes visits to the doctors.
Neither Eli nor Ms. Rabett are feeling guilty about this, between what Eli paid and Eli's employer paid, they were only about a grand shy of covering the insurance company's costs of a bit less than $17,000. Moreover, in previous years the Rabett family and Eli's employer has provided a ton more money in health insurance payments than in health insurance costs. That, after all is what insurance is for.
However, in shifting through the bills to figure out if there were enough costs to take the medical exemption (no, and this is excellent) Eli was able to see the discount that the insurance company got from the docs and the hospitals. The total discount was a bit north of $28,000.
Consider the following question: Why are so many people unhappy about losing crappy high co-pay/deductable health insurance?
If these policies access insurance company discounts, then just the fact of running the claims through an insurance company yields a 28,000/(28000+17,000) = 62% discount on what you would have paid walking through the docs door. In that sense ANY health insurance is better than none.
Moreover, unless you can negotiate ~60% discounts with the hospitals and docs you use, health savings accounts are a disaster.
Good health insurance is best of course