I get more interest in the medical insurance projects than any other project on this website. I use two different versions of the project in my classes. In College Algebra, I use the Medical Insurance 2 Project. I have student compare two different plans to decide which is cheaper. In Business Calculus, I use the Medical Insurance 3 Project where students model an insurance plan and prove it is continuous. These project share a number of technology assignments. The second one that students complete is Technology Assignment: Calculate the Total Annual Cost (DOC | PDF). For my students, this is usually the hardest assignment of the semester. It is a collision between insurance terminology (which they have no clue about) and Excel (which they also have no clue about). To find a model more efficiently, I needed to tone down the Excel component and ramp up the insurance component. Instead of having students use fills in Excel to complete a table of medical charges and corresponding annual costs, I have them focus on the three most important points in the insurance model.
The only place Excel is used in this Technology assignment is to graph four points with a line graph. This is typically very easy for students and allows students to work on relating charges and costs. I have used this assignment in College Algebra and in Business Calculus this semester. Several students used the older version of this assignment in College Algebra and the newer version in Business Calculus. Without exception, they prefer the newer version because it gets them to a model more efficiently.