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I have been debating for a long time whether to put my family on independent health insurance (e.g., not covered through my employer) because of the high costs through my employer. I pay $670 per month to cover my spouse and 2 kids (employer pays my portion) for Kaiser with $15 copays (except for emergency room, which is $50). I am wondering whether there is another plan that would be good for them and not break the bank. We are generally a healthy family, making a few visits a year for ear infections, etc. but not much else. Thus, my main concern is being covered if something major should happen. Because there are SO many plans out there (with differing deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, etc), I was hoping some of you folks could tell me about your specific experience with self-coverage and the specific plans you are using. Overall, I am happy with Kaiser after my first 4 years of using it (especially the lack of paperwork, referral requirements, etc.) but am open to other suggestions. Also, if any of you know of a specific ''hotline'' I could call to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about different plans (I really didn't find calling the providers very helpful) and could give me a recommendation, I would appreciate it. Puzzled About Healthcare
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. If you were to find out tomorrow that you had spinal cancer, what health plan would you want to be on? My friend was sent home to die by his HMO, but luckily his wife's insurance allowed him to go to Boston for treatment that saved his life. Life is priceless
If you like Kaiser, they recently introduced a few high deductible options with varying benefits and deductibles (copay $0/deductible $1500; $0/$2700 and $30/$2700). That might be a good place to start. You can learn more about their plans in summary form from their website http://ckp.kp.org/locations/california/individuals/personaladv/paBenefits.htm If you have any questions, you can certainly call Kaiser for assistance or I'd be happy to help. JUlie A.
Hi.. I am seeking advice on health insurance plans/companies for pregnancy. I had really good insurance through my job for our first baby, but am now a stay at home mom.( I didnt keep my health benefits through Cobra because it is very expensive and it wouldnt have worth it to pay that every month until I got pregnant again)
My husband is a general contractor who just started his own business recently so I'm not insured through his job either. Actually we are all insured under a Healthnet Family Plan together right now. We decided that this is good for us while I'm not pregnant as it is a good plan for if one of us gets sick etc. and then just I will switch to a plan and we will pay more for just me during my pregnancy care..
I live in the Bay Area and when I get pregnant again plan on delivering at CPMC again. Our current healthplan has a 4500 deductible that we will be responsible for at time of admission and delivery and there might also be additional charges incurred during prenatal visits. I think we can do better than this, so I'm looking to switch.
My question is has anyone had any great experience with a health insurance plan that wasn't a group plan(through someones job) What was it? Deductible, co pay etc. It's harder now that the insurance is not through my job because when it was I knew up front I had a $10 co pay, no deductible and then paid like $150 for hospital charges..EVERYTHING else was covered. That's what they told me upfront and that's what it was. I'm just trying to weigh the benefits of paying more every month(9 month pregnancy) for a better plan to make sure that there isnt an even bigger bill at the end. I know that I can also consult with an insurance broker but would like to appeal to families first as I am not pregnant yet and still have some time Thanks so much for reading!! mimosagirl
I need advice regarding health insurance. We are currently self insured through Blue Cross and the premiums are exorbitant. My husband has just started a new job that offers the same health insurance much cheaper.
Problem is, my husband and I are in our 50's with some preexisting health issues. We have 2 young kids, one that has some health issues.
I am scared to death about what will happen when/if my husband changes his job. If we ever had to self insure again, I have heard that either our already high fees would sky rocket, or we may not even be insurable. Is this possible? Is there some kind of resource that could help me decide whether it is worth the risk of using my husbands insurance. My agent has actually been great, but I'd like to talk to an unbiased source also.
Thanks for any advice. Stressed!
I had a similar situation. My daughter and I had independent insurance, my husband convinced me to switch us to his cheaper insurance through work, then lo and behold he lost his health benefits at work. My husband and I found insurance for ourselves, but it took me 6 months to find insurance for my daughter because of a very minor health problem. It all worked out in the end, but it was a big hassle and it caused me 6 months of anxiety. In retrospect, I do regret switching to his work-based insurance.
In your family, 3 out of 4 of you already have medical issues, so chances are good that *someone* will have problems finding affordable insurance in the future. If you are worried about your husband changing jobs again, you must also feel that his job (and its health insurance) are not terribly secure. I don't think I would want to take the risk if I were in your situation.
You might ask your agent if it is possible to switch to a higher-deductible plan now in order to make your premiums more affordable. But, as you already know, it is risky to give up your independent coverage altogether. Good luck, and I hope it all works out! happy to be independent
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) limits the ability of insurance companies to deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition.
There are lots of rules about when HIPAA does and does not apply, and they vary depending on whether you are moving from one group plan to another, from a group plan to an individual plan, etc. There are also state-level variations. HIPAA does not prevent insurance companies from totally gouging you in the premiums they charge, but it may prevent them from dropping you altogether. One of the key factors is having continuous coverage, so you want to avoid any gaps in coverage.
But you probably want to look carefully at this and the rules that apply before you decide what to do. You might find out you have more freedom than you anticipated.
Another law you should know about is COBRA, which requires certain employers to continue your health insurance for 18 months after you leave a job, although you usually have to pay the full cost, which can be a lot. But it is often a way to avoid gaps in coverage - you continue COBRA until you can find something else. You may want to find out if that is an option that will give you some protection if you are feeling iffy about the job.
Here's some resources from the web about HIPAA:
Official federal government info about HIPAA from the Dept. of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_hipaa.html
from the AARP website (http://www.aarp.org/health/insurance/private/a2003-05-02-hippa.html)
You could also contact an advocacy organization directly like AARP, Families USA (which focuses on insurance needs - FamiliesUSA.org) or Workplace Fairness (workplacefairness.org) and see if you can find someone to help answer your questions directly or to put you in touch with legal or other resources. Currently juggling health plans myself
In my family's situation we were all on my employer's insurance, and then I decided not to return to that job after I had my baby. We then all went onto COBRA and started looking into private pay insurance. Although my baby and I were considered ''uninsurable'' for a number of reasons, Kaiser did have a (very unattractive) plan that they would let us join.
I actually worked with Denise Lombard (510-530-8086), who I found on this site, to figure out what to do. She recommended keeping me and the baby on COBRA and found good plans for my husband and baby. She mentioned something about being eligible for HIPAA plans post-COBRA, but honestly, I don't remember the details. As with everything, things change quickly, and I recently started a new job and will be eligible for their coverage in a few months.
Also, one thing to know about COBRA - you pay 102% of whatever premium the employer was paying. And you don't get to chose your plan - it's whatever you were on with the group plan. You probably can call the potential employer and ask what their plans & premiums are and figure out what you would potentially be paying if your husband left that job.
Good luck! COBRA mama
After a job change, it just dawned on me that as of Sept. 1, I am no longer covered by ANY health insurance. My new job does not offer this benefit (but does offer the option of paying into a pre-tax account of my own to pay my own premiums). My husband's employer will let me add to his plan, but the full premium must be paid by us (the employer will not contribute to my premiums). So.........since I'm obviously buying my own plan anyway, I can get whatever I want! We already pay for an individual Kaiser plan for our son. I'm a pretty healthy person, but would like to have another baby sometime in the near future (probably will start trying within the year). I had my son through Kaiser and thought it was great. LOVE our pediatrician through Kaiser as well. The NP who I saw throughout my pregnancy is no longer with Kaiser so I'm really not attached to anyone there, I have to begin again with a new doctor anyway. I was surprised to price Kaiser out at $195/month for me alone...then again, I haven't ever priced individual health insurance for myself before, so maybe the sticker shock is from ignorance. I don't need to be ''sold'' on Kaiser, I know how it works and I know that I have to work the system. What I'd like recommendations on are which insurance plan gives me the most ''bang'' for my bucks?
FYI, the $195/mo at Kaiser is actually a decent rate, if it includes maternity. Just check and see what they charge for hospitalization-- is it a daily rate, a one-time co-pay? What if you're released and need to be re-admitted for some reason, do you have to pay all over again? It's a good idea to look at the ''evidence of coverage''. Also, DO NOT let them know you plan to get pregnant (don't confirm or deny grin). And... don't be pregnant when you're applying. It is considered a ''pre-existing condition'' like cancer, and they won't insure you.
Just 4 years ago, we had to pay $220/mo for our kids and myself, since my husband's firm only pays for his coverage. The same plan (with much higher copays and less overall coverage for things like hospitalization and labwork) is now $870/month. I got a HealthNet high deductible plan for my two kids and myself for $270/month, but it doesn't include maternity... Even if we maxed the deductible, it's still cheaper than the plan we've been on through my hasband's employer. We're really happy with it. Blue Shield is also quite good. Good luck!!!
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