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TimH
02-01-2009, 12:35 AM
I had insurance (California Blue Croos) through my company and the they restructured the company so I am the only employee of the company. Everyone else is in the other company. Then we found out that the insurance company wont insure me alone since I am out of state.
Anyway to make a long story short I am on Cobra and when I turned 40 my premium went from 350 to 475 a month. I have been paying this insane amount for a year.

I think I need to start looking elsewhere for my insurance.

Any advice?

elf
02-01-2009, 02:50 AM
Write your congressman. Every day.

Spin_Drift
02-01-2009, 03:40 AM
Boy, that's expensive. It's a wonder how people can afford that.

...and such a price to pay when you are that young.

elf
02-01-2009, 04:33 AM
Welcome to the USofA, Spinner.

Saltiguy
02-01-2009, 08:37 AM
The system is insane. When I was young, health insurance was level-rated whether you were young, old, sick or healthy. IMO, that system made sense, but somewhere along the line, the older folks and those with pre-existing illness got red-lined. When I hit 60, my premium (in Connecticut) was $1,200 per month! I was sure glad when I finally got my Medicare at age 65. I don't understand why the AARP doesn't do something about this age-rating swindle.

Hwyl
02-01-2009, 08:45 AM
I've heard good things (albeit from a broker) about http://www.aflac.com/us/en/individuals/default.aspx . I don't have insurance

paladin
02-01-2009, 09:41 AM
AARP is part of the program....they are there for the handout with the other insurance companies...they act as a shill for credit card companies, insurance etc....their programs are the same as all the other such institutions.

jack grebe
02-01-2009, 10:04 AM
When I was young, health insurance was level-rated whether you were young, old, sick or healthy. IMO, that system made sense,
It only makes sense if you are paying the premiums, not
if you are paying the claims

jack grebe
02-01-2009, 10:06 AM
Until Obama manages to reform health care in the US, you're basically screwed.
Spewwwwwww


All hail lord Obama:rolleyes:

carioca1232001
02-01-2009, 10:10 AM
Until Obama manages to reform health care in the US, you're basically screwed. .......

I tried to question a successful US-based (naturalised American) surgeon on exactly these lines a couple of months ago in Rio.

Awfully nice guy who I had not seen since 1965, was my elder brotherīs class mate, besides being Pakistanīs Table-Tennis champion in the early 60īs.

What an artful surgeon, as he delicately dodged the flak coming his way ! ;)

George Roberts
02-01-2009, 10:12 AM
Private insurance is less than COBRA. But the rates you are paying are not unreasonable.

Have your employer put you back into the old company. Or have your employer pay your insurance.

It is better for both you and the employer if the employer pays for the insurance and reduces your pay by the insurance cost less FICA.

R.I.Singer30
02-01-2009, 10:29 AM
Spewwwwwww


All hail lord Obama:rolleyes:

Well I'm in this mess too. I have been laid off for 4 months now.10%(1 in 10:eek:) unemployment here in R.I. so every job offerings I've been to has a dozen people like me there. Obama's plan is to assist in the payments. Right now I pay Cobra just shy of $1,000 per month to cover the (ex)family. If the people "wishing to reach across the aisle" finally do, I can expect to only put out about half of that and then, maybe, I can put something into the economy. IYCRC when the Dems left office 8 years ago the was no deficit.What do you suggest,we start another war tyhen I can become a soldier again. NLMAO
signed Treading inRI

on a lighter note:
Last night Steve Martin on SNL starts off with ,I never would have guessed eight years ago that we would have an inteligent ,well educate person(expecting,person of color here)elected to office,I never would have believed it.That made me spew;)

High C
02-01-2009, 12:31 PM
Cobra is usually the most expensive possible option.

The Health Savings Account is usually the cheapest. Some will ask, "how can you expect someone to handle a $5 thousand dollar deductible?" To them, the answer..."how can a person who can't handle a $5 thousand dollar deductible handle a $5 thousand dollar premium every year, whether they get sick or not?"

jack grebe
02-01-2009, 02:41 PM
I am fortunate that I do not need to worry one way
or the other. As a young man I did my 4intheCorp...
now my uncle takes care of these little details for me.

Chris Coose
02-01-2009, 03:11 PM
I have been playing in the game my whole life and it has gotten more decrepid as I go along.
The only solice I have these days is that I am a recipient of benefits paid by insurance companies.
My personal plan, now we have one again if expensive and benefit unfriendly.

Pray for universal healthcare and shop around if you must have it.

I had a friend who had open heart surgrey and after receiving bills for about 6 months post surgery, he went in and knocked 40 large off the bill and wrote a check for the balance. Better than them taking his house, I guess.

George Roberts
02-01-2009, 04:10 PM
"The truth is that they can do neither.... therefore, the existence of high deductible medical coverage doesn't help them."

Many people simply chose to spend their money on things other than their health care.

High C
02-01-2009, 05:28 PM
The truth is that they can do neither.... therefore, the existence of high deductible medical coverage doesn't help them.


The truth is that we're talking about someone who is currently paying $5,700 a year in premiums, out of pocket, with post tax money.

The HSA alternative could cut Tim's premiums in half or better, and make his payments to health care providers tax deductible.

LeeG
02-01-2009, 05:34 PM
I'd prefer the actual services cost less.

TimH
02-01-2009, 07:08 PM
Thanks. I'll look into the HSA. It looks as though thats something my company will have to do and not something i can do myself.

Too bad I just cant deduct the cost of the insurance at the end of the year.

High C
02-01-2009, 08:51 PM
Thanks. I'll look into the HSA. It looks as though thats something my company will have to do and not something i can do myself.

Too bad I just cant deduct the cost of the insurance at the end of the year.

While your employer could offer an HSA if he so chose, it's quite possible to get one as an individual, as an alternative to your current Cobra deal. It's probably worth a look to see what's available in your area.

Deductibility of individual health insurance premiums is an old political issue. You might find it revealing to learn who traditionally supports the notion...and who habitually shoots it down.

Paul Girouard
02-01-2009, 09:21 PM
Deductibility of individual health insurance premiums is an old political issue. You might find it revealing to learn who traditionally supports the notion...and who habitually shoots it down.



My moneys on he does NOT want to know that IF it's a Republican support notion, it MUST be bad! :D

Bruce Hooke
02-01-2009, 10:42 PM
Having had a good bit of direct, personal experience with this I will try to offer some ideas without getting into the politics. I do, however, have to start by saying that at least for me here in Rhode Island, COBRA was MUCH cheaper than the $5,000 deductible insurance coverage I now have (and for which I pay about what you are now paying, Tim). The plan I had through COBRA was a great plan. So, when I rolled off COBRA my insurance premiums shot up and my deductable also shot up. I am a reasonably healthy person in my early 40's buying insurance just for myself.

Now, when it comes to shopping for insurance, the situation in each state seems to be a bit different. Here are a few things to look into:

1. A good starting point is your local Blue Cross plan. In most states Blue Cross insurance is going to be a high quality insurance plan. However, it is always good to look into what the local word is on your Blue Cross plan because each state is different. Typically, Blue Cross is also the only plan that cannot turn you down.

2. As others have said, check with any professional organizations you can associate yourself with since they sometimes have plans available (however, more and more organizations seem to be moving away from doing this, from what I've heard). It is also good to check with any government or similar entities in your state that exist to help small businesses because they will frequently have good information on health insurance for small businesses and self-employed people. I got my best information from my state council on the arts.

3. Then there is the "interstate market" where you are buying insurance plans sold by insurers from outside of your state (Blue Cross can't do this but other insurers can). One way to find out about these sorts of places is via an independant insurance agent. These "interstate" plans are less regulated than the in-state plans so the key thing to watch out for here is that they will often exclude coverage for a lot of things. Read the plan very carefully and do some research on the company's reputation. I got a quote from one place and then did some research and heard repeated reports of even routine claims being denied unless you fought the insurance company! I imagine it is an effective way to save money to force your customers to spend hours on the phone and writing letters to get any claim paid, but it is hardly what I would consider to be good insurance coverage!

I hate to say it but based on my experience, the rates you are paying are not too far out of line with what I would expect, especially if your current plan has a deductible of less than $1000. It is certainly worth shopping around but don't be surprised if you can't do much better. Certainly, if you are paying for a low-deductible plan I would look at raising the deductible to whatever the highest level is that you think you can handle.

One other point that it took me a while to figure out -- when people talk about an HSA (health savings account), what they are really talking about is an HSA PLUS high deductible insurance coverage. An HSA without a high-deductible insurance plan leaves you effectively uninsured if you have serious medical problems. On the other hand, if you typically have little or no health care costs in a year then a high-deductible insurance plan WITHOUT an HSA may make sense for you. Typically, at least in my experience, setting up the insurance coverage and setting up the HSA will be handled completely separately. The insurance coverage will be set up directly with the insurer or through and agent. Your local bank can set up the HSA for you.

I hope that helps. Let me know if you have questions about any of the above.

TimH
02-02-2009, 01:01 PM
Thanks Bruce. I will look into some of the things you suggest. Its just frustrating to be paying almost 6k a yearr for insurance when I havent even been to a doctor in years.

I havent even had a cold in years. I did however have skin cancer about 8 years ago. Had a mole removed.

And had hernia surgery about 4 years ago. Seems like I would almost be better off to just have my own savings account and pay out of pocket though if something happens. You just take a gamble that you dont get something real expensive.

This seems like highway robbery.

George Roberts
02-02-2009, 01:12 PM
"when people talk about an HSA (health savings account), what they are really talking about is an HSA PLUS high deductible insurance coverage."

Bruce Hooke ---

Actually an HSA is a high deductible insurance plan. The savings portion is optional.

TimH
02-02-2009, 01:15 PM
its all a gamble. Part of the reason why I am healthy is because I am active. Being an active person comes with risks...I could get hit by a car while biking, fall off a cliff while hiking, etc. You just never know.

6k a year doesnt take long to add up to REAL money though.
Its my second largest expense next to my house payment.

Bruce Hooke
02-02-2009, 02:06 PM
"when people talk about an HSA (health savings account), what they are really talking about is an HSA PLUS high deductible insurance coverage."

Bruce Hooke ---

Actually an HSA is a high deductible insurance plan. The savings portion is optional.

At least when I talked to agents around here, they were happy to talk to me about high deductible insurance plans but sent me to the bank to set up a health savings account, which was definitely not an insurance plan, just a savings plan.

However, in the end this is just a matter of terminology and the key thing to understand is that different people may use the terms somewhat differently so it is important to understand that the savings part and the insurance part are not necessarily linked.

Bruce Hooke
02-02-2009, 02:14 PM
Having lost more than one friend to cancer before they were 50, and having some sense of what it costs to get properly treated for a serious cancer, and knowing that cancer treatment is not something you can get "for free" via the emergency room, I am now firmly convinced that is not smart for ANYONE to go with health insurance unless it comes down to a choice between starvation or no roof over your head and going without health insurance. Anyone who has parents or relatives who care about you should also remember that if you got seriously ill, those people might well deplete their own retirement savings trying to save your life.

On the other side of the coin, yes, it does appear to be highway robbery to me and I hope the government finds some ways to deal with the situation. For me, health insurance is also my second or third largest expense after rent and maybe food. As an individual buying health insurance on the open market I pay more because I don't have the negotiating leverage of a large business and because my premiums in part go to pay for the cost of providing care to patients who are either uninsured and unable to pay for the care they get in the emergency room, or insured under plans that do not pay the health providers enough to cover their costs.

So, no the system is not fair, but it is what we've got right now...

George Roberts
02-02-2009, 02:55 PM
Bruce Hooke ---

We have the blind men describing the elephant problem. We each can say things that are correct and still mislead.

The insurance part of the HSA is wonderful for those who can afford it. The savings part is even better for those who can afford it.

But for those who can afford neither, health care is going to be a problem.