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Author Topic: Insurance Help, Please
Samarkand
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Hi,

So I'm 23, live in Colorado, will be off my 'rents insurance December 31st, and will need something else to kick in on January 1st. Hopefully (oh please oh please) I'll have a big person job with benefits my then.

1) Catastrophic insurance?
2) Some kind of I-make-crap-money insurance?
3) Temporary insurance?
4) Something else?

Yeah. Stupid US . . . maybe I will go ahead and move to Switzerland or Austria at some point in here . . .

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Samarkand
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I have chronic allergies and take BC. No hospitalizations or surgeries, good weight, etc. So healthy overall. Have Blue Cross/ Blue Shield: Anthem now. Apparently insurance companies like to decided that you have ailments that don't exist, though, based on old healthcare stuff.

I'm not willing to go completely without health insurance because car accidents do happen, and I like my high credit score.

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El JT de Spang
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You're asking about health insurance only, right?

Most grownup jobs come with health insurance, so I guess I'm not sure I understand the question.

Are you wondering what (hopefully temporary) insurance coverage you could pick up until you get a job?

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Samarkand
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Yes, exactly. I am applying to and interviewing for jobs, but may not get one prior to Jan 1st OR the coverage may not kick in. So I'm seeking advice on options to consider, specific insurers to look into or avoid, etc. I have contacted one insurance broker, and plan to speak to at least two more, but . .. I dunno, I trust you guys more. [Smile]
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Stephan
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Look into a personal comp policy. They are pretty cheapin comparison. You can make it even cheaper by selecting a higher annual deductible.
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Stephan
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I think https://www.anthem.com/ is the Blue Cross Blueshield provider in Colorado (assuming that is the Boulder in your profile). Use the site to find a local broker.
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Dagonee
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If you're healthy, look for short-term medical insurance.
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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:

Most grownup jobs come with health insurance, so I guess I'm not sure I understand the question.

Not everywhere, not in every field, not anymore.

Don't count on it.

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Stephan
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I found the best source of health insurance, probably the most affordable kind you can get. Marry a teacher (at least in my state and county).
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El JT de Spang
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All of mine have, and so have the jobs of every single one of my friends. But I guess my friends are hardly a random sample, being engineer/computer types. I take your word for it, though.

-----

One thing's for sure; if you have any pre-existing conditions you want to make sure there's no lapse in coverage. At all. Is COBRA state-to-state or is it offered nationwide?

*goes to google*

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ClaudiaTherese
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COBRA is offered nationally. There is a period of time (somewhere between 30 and 60 days, I think, but don't quote me) that can be a lapse in coverage [over one calendar year] and still not have pre-existing conditions kick in with your next insurance policy.

Regardless, by national regulation, after some period of time (I think maybe one year of ongoing coverage with one provider?) coverage of pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied.

This is worth finding out the details on. Don't let it go.

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El JT de Spang
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Okay, I'm back. COBRA is a law passed back in the day (1985) stating that employers which have group health care plans must make extensions to this plan available in certain situations.

Typically, the situation is that you're allowed to temporarily extend your coverage when you get fired or laid off. But it also applies to dependents, provided they meet certain qualifications.

From the FAQ:
quote:
Up to 36 months for spouses and dependents facing a loss of employer-provided coverage due to an employee's death, a divorce or legal separation, or certain other "qualifying events".
What is a qualifiying event:
quote:
or (5) a dependent child ceasing to be a dependent child of the covered employee under the generally applicable requirements of the plan and a loss of coverage occurs.
This is you, right? I'd have your dad (or mom, whomever) check with their employer's HR dept to make sure they are COBRA eligible (some small businesses are not).

That's probably your best option.

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Regardless, by national regulation, after some period of time (I think maybe one year of ongoing coverage with one provider?) coverage of pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied.

Really? Can you explain that a little more?
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rivka
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COBRA is federal, but many states have additional programs of their own (like California's Cal-COBRA).
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ClaudiaTherese
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PS: Be careful about googling for COBRA information. Many of the "COBRA insurance" sites are run by insurance companies that may give biased information.

Go through the US government pages, e.g., from the US Department of Labor:

http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq_consumer_cobra.html

Note the ".gov" extension in the website address.

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
quote:
Regardless, by national regulation, after some period of time (I think maybe one year of ongoing coverage with one provider?) coverage of pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied.

Really? Can you explain that a little more?
I went into it in detail on a long-ago thread. (I know, small help to you, as this search engine isn't stellar.) If I can't find it quickly now, I won't have time to dig it up for you, but I will try.

Busy day. [Smile]

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
PS: Be careful about googling for COBRA information. Many of the "COBRA insurance" sites are run by insurance companies that may give biased information.
The frontpage is definitely biased. The faq is almost word for word from the one you linked, though. [Wink]
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ClaudiaTherese
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ketchupqueen, try this link from About.com about pre-existing conditions for more information.

As I recall, there was additional national regulation to prevent someone from being denied coverage forever based on pre-existing conditions. There is a distinction made between work-related-insurance coverage and non-work-related-insurance coverage [as well as state-to-stae variation], but the general gist is that even if you get off the ever-turning Wheel of Insurance Coverage for more than 60 days, eventually (within 18 consistant months of restarted coverage under 1 provider, I think, but don't quote me) everything has to be covered again. You may shell out money for a year and a half without full coverage, but once you do that consistently, full coverage has to be reinstated.

At least, that is my recollection.

[ October 26, 2006, 06:53 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
quote:
PS: Be careful about googling for COBRA information. Many of the "COBRA insurance" sites are run by insurance companies that may give biased information.
The frontpage is definitely biased. The faq is almost word for word from the one you linked, though. [Wink]
Great!

But I still don't trust them. I don't like the use of (in my opinion) misleadingly named websites or website presentations that are not very clear upfront about conflicts of interests. I think (IMO) it is really, really important to be very careful about which sites I recommend, especially given that this is a professional responsibility for me. But, YMMV.

Carry on.

*grin

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El JT de Spang
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Agreed. I thought the disclaimer was pretty upfront, but in something like this you're definitely better off hearing it from the horse's mouth (as it were).
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
Agreed. I thought the disclaimer was pretty upfront, but in something like this you're definitely better off hearing it from the horse's mouth (as it were).

I'd prefer that they say specifically "this is a for-profit website," as I think one could read the disclaimer without getting that impression, were one not a surly, suspicious, dour, grim, and cranky person whom nobody wanted to spend any time around, and who looks decades older than she is (due to the gray hair, wrinkles, bunions, and whatnots), and who has failed to succeed at so many projects, and ... Ahem. That is, were one not to read it with a generally suspicious eye.

---
[Wink] [Big Grin]

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Architraz Warden
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Hate COBRAserv so very much...

I didn't check carefully enough to see that I would be charged based on my parents' medical conditions instead of mine during the service period, and wound up paying over 800 dollars for a single month, during which they did pay for a visit to the doctor, but not the medication.

Yeah... not much to add other than that though!

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Samarkand
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Huh - that's really good to know, CT.

El JT de Spang, I mentioned COBRA to my parents, and they are looking into it further.

Dag, one of my friends suggested short-term insurance as well - how does this differ from catastrophic or major medical insurance? If at all? I would really love a plan that covers some portion of doctor's visists or prescriptions, but I realize that may be pie-in-the-sky thinking, and it would be cheaper to just pay out of pocket as needed rather than higher monthly charges all the time. Of course my allergy meds cost $100 a month in copays now . . . heh. Rhinocort and Clarinex. And no, Nasonex and Claritin do not work the same on me. Stupid formularie lists . . .

CT, please don't feel that you need to answer now since you're busy, or at all if it's inconvenient, but one of my and my family's concerns was that Anthem (BlueCross BlueShield), which has a good catastrophic plan, has full access to all my past medical records, and therefore would refuse to provide coverage for any mental illness (depression freshman year of h.s. - I feel strongly that I will be fine as long as no one makes me go back to high school), allergies, etc. Of course, even though I believe I am very unlikely to have some sort of mental illness, we can't sign on to a plan that wouldn't cover huge medical bills that just might happen. And allergies are my number one expense. Can they do this? Can I kill them for it? Kidding . . . I kid . . .

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ketchupqueen
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CT, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I thought that if I got new coverage it would never cover my asthma. It turns out that that will only be for 12 months if the policy covers only me, or 6 months if the policy covers me and at least two others. That's so great (since I can afford albuterol, the only medication I'm currently taking, have access to a nebulizer for more severe attacks, and only need actual hospital treatment for it when I'm pregnant and it gets worse, so if I manage to have been covered for 12 months before I get pregnant, I'll be able to go to the emergency room for asthma if I need to.) Thank you! You just made, like, my month!

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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
CT, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I thought that if I got new coverage it would never cover my asthma. It turns out that that will only be for 12 months if the policy covers only me, or 6 months if the policy covers me and at least two others. That's so great (since I can afford albuterol, the only medication I'm currently taking, have access to a nebulizer for more severe attacks, and only need actual hospital treatment for it when I'm pregnant and it gets worse, so if I manage to have been covered for 12 months before I get pregnant, I'll be able to go to the emergency room for asthma if I need to.) Thank you! You just made, like, my month!

[Big Grin] Delighted to be of service. I was quite thrilled when that regulation went into place, since it was (in my opinion) quite a breach of human ethics to allow that sort of situation to happen.

Samarkand, my understanding (and I am a physician, not a lawyer or insurance specialist, so take this with a grain of salt) is that once you are covered by a provider for a certain period of time (I believe this is never longer than 18 months) consistently, then all pre-existing diagnoses must be covered again.

Mind you, if you have never lapsed in healthcare covering insurance, then pre-existing diagnosis clause restrictions will never be able to come into play -- that is, if you were covered during the time when you were diagnosed and have maintained full coverage ever since (or possibly with no more than somewhere between 30-60 days of lapse in coverage per calendar year), then your diagnoses cannot be excluded from coverage.

So, even if you switched providers, if you were always covered, then whomever you are with now (and whomever you might switch to in the future, so long as there is no lapse in coverage during the switches) would have to cover that diagnosis.

You should sit down with someone in the know to be sure, though. I do think my understanding of the matter is pretty solid -- I just wouldn't base your life on it. *smile

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
as I think one could read the disclaimer without getting that impression, were one not a surly, suspicious, dour, grim, and cranky person whom nobody wanted to spend any time around, and who looks decades older than she is (due to the gray hair, wrinkles, bunions, and whatnots), and who has failed to succeed at so many projects, and ...
I'm sure I don't know anyone who fits this description.
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Mrs.M
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quote:
Mind you, if you have never lapsed in healthcare covering insurance, then pre-existing diagnosis clause restrictions will never be able to come into play -- that is, if you were covered during the time when you were diagnosed and have maintained full coverage ever since (or possibly with no more than somewhere between 30-60 days of lapse in coverage per calendar year), then your diagnoses cannot be excluded from coverage.
CT, I don't think this is always the case. Our insurance won't pay for Aerin's operation because there's a pre-existing diagnosis clause restriction on her policy (it's a terrible policy, but it's the only one she qualified for b/c of being on Synagis). They maintain, correctly, that her hemangioma is a pre-existing condition. She has been covered since the day she was born and we've never had a lapse in coverage. In fact, we paid on 2 policies for 1 month to make sure that we didn't lapse. I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them and they won't budge. We're thinking about getting a lawyer, but our cursory reading of state insurance laws don't reveal anything encouraging. We can pay for the operation, but we'd rather not have to - we just have to weigh the cost of the operation against the cost of a lawyer.

Of course, we're thinking of postponing the operation until the end of May because I'm really uncomfortable with having Aerin in the PICU during the height of RSV and flu season. We might switch insurance companies by the anyway.

I am very unhappy with Anthem. I've had Aetna and Cigna, both of which are great. Especially Cigna. I strongly recommend that you avoid Anthem at all costs.

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Valentine014
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KQ, don't know if this helps you but I was able to once reduce the waiting period (which they imposed because of a pre-existing condition) from 1 year to 6 months (maybe even less) by calling the insurance company and just asking them. I was able to provide a certificate of coverage from a previous policy and they were happy with that when I faxed it to them. I believe it was Blue Cross Blue Shield.
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ClaudiaTherese
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quote:
Originally posted by Mrs.M:
CT, I don't think this is always the case. Our insurance won't pay for Aerin's operation because there's a pre-existing diagnosis clause restriction on her policy (it's a terrible policy, but it's the only one she qualified for b/c of being on Synagis). They maintain, correctly, that her hemangioma is a pre-existing condition. She has been covered since the day she was born and we've never had a lapse in coverage. In fact, we paid on 2 policies for 1 month to make sure that we didn't lapse. I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them and they won't budge. We're thinking about getting a lawyer, but our cursory reading of state insurance laws don't reveal anything encouraging.

Mrs. M, again, I am not a lawyer, but this seems to contradict the national HIPAA legislation. The following is from the US Department of Labor's website of frequently asked questions about HIPAA, a little more than halfway down the page under "What is a preexisting condition?":
quote:
In addition, a preexisting condition exclusion cannot be applied to a newborn, adopted child under age 18, or a child under age 18 placed for adoption as long as the child became covered under health coverage within 30 days of the birth, adoption or placement for adoption and provided that the child does not incur a subsequent 63-day break in coverage.
And as far as I know, HIPAA still stands unsuperceded. I think you should speak with a lawyer who specializes in this area, myself.

----

Edited to add: HIPAA applies to most (by far) insurance policies. A list of qualifying characteristics of the policies covered is included at the top of that page.

[ October 26, 2006, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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Belle
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Mrs. M - fight it, fight it, fight it! They are in the wrong here, and I think you won't have to pay much for a lawyer - one letter pointing out where they are in the wrong should do it. That's ridiculous. [Mad]
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ClaudiaTherese
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Mind you, the [general] recommendations are not to treat [congenital] hemangiomas unless they are compromising functions of the body (particularly vision or the airway), as the risk of scarring and complications far outweighs any possible benefit. There might be something unusual in your case, but the generally accounted rates are that 60% of hemangiomas have completely regressed by 6 years of age, 70% by 7 years, and 90% by 9 years.

We look extra carefully at hemangiomas in the "beard region" (as they might extend to the airway) and the "shawl region" (as they might involve the mediastinum, where the heart is), but these aren't necessarily indications for treatment. [Additionally, some hemangiomas may be in areas that are prone to recurrent injury and subsequent uncontrolled bleeding, and that may be an indication for surgical treatment despite the risk of scarring and the rest.]

Of course, I am certain that you have gone over all of this with your child's physician [and done the research on your own]. I am just trying to err on the side of completeness.

---

Edited to add: And to continue in that vein, congenital hemangiomas often go through a period of "blossoming" after birth before they regress. That would describe a typical course.

eMedicine article on congenital hemangiomas

I would certainly defer to your child's own physician on matters of judgment as to what is the best course in Aerin's individual case. [Smile] It is impossible to assess such things appropriately without being intimately involved in the details of the case, and of course I trust you and your spouse to make sure Aerin gets the absolutely best case possible.

[ October 27, 2006, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: ClaudiaTherese ]

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
[Additionally, some hemangiomas may be in areas that are prone to recurrent injury and subsequent uncontrolled bleeding, and that may be an indication for surgical treatment despite the risk of scarring and the rest.]

I think this is the case, as they ended up calling 9-1-1 recently. And she said on her blog that the specialist said she has recommended against removing them again and again, but this one has to go.

[ October 27, 2006, 04:12 AM: Message edited by: ketchupqueen ]

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ClaudiaTherese
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In that case, it should be covered under insurance. I had considered the remote possibility that the insurance company was considering it a (merely) cosmetic procedure -- i.e., not medically indicated.

Might still take a lot of extra and redundant paperwork to convince the claims adjuster of that fact, though. It's frankly remarkable how much [US] physician time is spent battling with insurance coverage issues for patients at times.

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Samarkand
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This is excerpted from a pdf file I got by following the link CT put up (thank you!) and then going to info for individual states.

quote:
In general, insurers that sell individual health insurance in Colorado are free to turn you down because of your health status and other factors. When applying for individual health insurance, you may be asked questions about health conditions you have now or had in the past. Depending on your health status, insurers might refuse to sell you coverage or they may offer to sell you a policy that has special limitations on what it covers. If you are turned down or offered a policy with reductions or restrictions, you may be eligible for CoverColorado coverage (see page 20).
So . . . I'm back to looking into CoverColorado or COBRA, neither of which is ideal, I'm sure. But I just can't see paying for a policy with exemptions that are that huge. I will also be writing blistering letters to my congressmen and the new governor as soon as this vote is over. Rargh! So stupid . . . I'm sure it's a great policy to not treat ongoing conditions so they instead become more expensive infections . . . that's bright.
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Samarkand
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quote:
To be HIPAA eligible, you must meet certain criteria If you are HIPAA eligible in Colorado, you are guaranteed the right to buy an individual health insurance from CoverColorado and are exempted from pre-existing condition exclusion periods. To be HIPAA eligible, you must meet all of the following: • You must have had 18 months of continuous creditable coverage, at least the last day of which was under a group health plan. (Note that in Colorado, coverage under student health insurance is considered group coverage.) • You also must have used up any COBRA or state continuation coverage for which you were eligible. • You must not be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid or a group health plan. • You must not have health insurance. (Note, however, if you know your group coverage is about to end, you can apply for coverage for which you will be HIPAA eligible.) • You must apply for CoverColorado within 90 days of losing your prior coverage. (In other states, you must apply for health insurance for which you are HIPAA eligible within 63 days of losing your prior coverage.) HIPAA eligibility ends when you enroll in CoverColorado or an individual plan, because the last day of your continuous health coverage must have been in a group plan. You can become HIPAA eligible again by maintaining continuous coverage and rejoining a group health plan.
Ok, so actually I'm done to a) COBRA or b) finding a miraculous individual health plan that doesn't exempt past conditions. I wonder if they realize that they're basically giving people a hugh reason to be dishonest about their health. [Roll Eyes]
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ElJay
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Samarkand, unless I'm mistaken, you haven't actually been turned down by any insurers yet, right? If you're concerned about a bout of depression seven years ago, it might not actually cause an issue at all. "Free to turn you down" does not automatically equal "you're uninsurable."
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Samarkand
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I'm going to apply for individual health insurance from Anthem, Golden Rule, Humana and Kaiser. The first three can refuse insurance or put elimination clauses (temporary or permanent) onto any policies they do choose to offer. This is in spite of the fact that I have always had full coverage and will have no lapse of coverage, let alone one of 60+ days (welcome to Colorado). However, as ElJay points out, it is possible that they will not put any restrictions on my coverage, or only some. It is to their advantage financially to do so, however, so . . . we'll see. But I do plan to apply for those and see what I get.

Kaiser is an HMO, so it chooses to insure or not insure you with no elimination clauses, but it's harder to get covered because they're more careful about who they take on.

COBRA coverage is available to dependents who have had a termination event (such as not being a dependent any more) for a period of up to 36 months. I would have all the same coverage that I do now, but we would pay the full premium (what my dad's work currently pays) rather than a subsidized cost.

The trick now is to weigh risks, costs, and benefits of my options. Or move to Austria. I miss Austria.

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ketchupqueen
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Samarkand, my mom works for Kaiser in SoCal. She says she doesn't know about Colorado, but Kaiser here would not decline to cover you because of depression 7 years ago (although your premium might go up a little bit.) Does that help you feel a little better?
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Samarkand
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heehee, yes kq, thank you! [Smile]

I just get frustrated with healthcare coverage in the US. I mean, if it's tough for me, what's it like for people who really do have severe chronic illnesses and no previous insurance? And why, oh why, in our country did you have to worry about whether or not you would be covered while pregnant? It's just so silly, and I can't help thinking that it's hurting people. I hope that I see a significant change in how we approach this in my lifetime.

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Mrs.M
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CT, we've seen 2 pediatric dermatologists, 1 ped. dermatologist surgeon, a plastic surgeon, and a pediatric surgeon. All of them have recommended removal. The hemangioma is extremely ulcerated and it's also pedunculated. They're fairly certain it will gradually just turn into fibro-fatty tissue and that would have to be surgically removed. All of the specialists we've seen, as kq mentioned, have said, "We normally recommend against removal, but in this case..."

The incident that got us to the specialists happened because I put Aquaphor on the scabs and bandadged it. When I took off the bandage, all of the scabs came off and Aerin had a lot of bleeding. We stopped it before Andrew even got off the phone with 911, but we went to the ER anyway because I thought she might be anemic from the blood loss (she has a tendency to be anemic) and I was worried about secondary infection. To my surprise, she was only slightly anemic (10.4).

After many phone calls, we've found out that Aerin is not HIPPA eligible, but it's because of Anthem that we ruined her eligibility. We went off COBRA before it ran out b/c they approved her for a plan with full coverage and no pre-existant clause. After sending us all the paperwork and her insurance card, they then decided she didn't qualify for that program and switched her. By that time, we had cancelled our COBRA policy, so we had no choice but to take the program they were offering.

We're going to speak to a lawyer next week. Even though we can pay for the operation out-of-pocket, I think we're going to postpone it anyway. I'm very apprehensive about the timing and Aerin is still very small. We'll have to talk to the doctors, but that's where we're leaning.

However, I'm so vexed with Anthem that I'm going to read my own policy with a fine-tooth comb and take full advantage of every single benefit they offer. They don't know who they're dealing with.

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pH
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Someone give me a list of health insurance providers for here that aren't Humana or Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Maybe one day I'll bother with trying once more to get real person coverage instead of second class citizen college student coverage.

But they can't charge me $220 up-front to see a doctor when the office visit wouldn't even cost me that much out-of-pocket because I don't like having to do battle with big companies over money that they shouldn't have made me pay in the first place.

-pH

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ketchupqueen
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Mrs. M, did you get a quote in writing for the plan you were first approved in, or some other kind of documentation that they approved her for that? I'm worried they're going to try to say, "We never approved her for that..." I think a lawyer is a good idea, they shouldn't be able to mess people around like that. That's just awful.
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mackillian
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quote:
We went off COBRA before it ran out b/c they approved her for a plan with full coverage and no pre-existant clause. After sending us all the paperwork and her insurance card, they then decided she didn't qualify for that program and switched her. By that time, we had cancelled our COBRA policy, so we had no choice but to take the program they were offering.
Mrs. M, I'm just trying to figure out exactly how it all went down. My crappy day job is working for a health insurance company, so I might be able to figure out what happened. Just your brief summary indicates that it's Anthem's fault whatever is going on and they could be trying to foist it off onto you. I might be able to help figure out what happened and how to explain in their language how to make them cover it.

But... I'd need more details. Anyway, if you want me to try and help, just shoot me an email.

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DDDaysh
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Well, COBRA in general absolutely stinks unless you have no other options because it is SO expensive. Most jobs will offer coverage, but it can take up to six months to qualify, and you usually have to be working full time. These days alot of comapnies want to start you as "temp" so then you're up a creek. Luckily, my job only kept me at temp a few months, and when my health insurance kicked in it was VERY good.

I recently "aged off" my parents insurance. In Texas the age is 25, and by then I was already covered on my own. However, when you "age off" they send you a packet in the mail with all your COBRA information. It is, however, VERY expensive.

However, a few years ago we were looking for private insurance coverage. Unicare, if they cover in Colorado, usually has reasonably priced plans for adults. The catch is that they will only cover a certain number of doctors visits per year (typically like 4). If you're reasonably healthy, this shouldn't be too big an issue. The cost was somewhere around $50 then, so it's probably about $60 now.

The other thing to be VERY careful about is alot of seemingly "cheap" plans that are nothing more than discount plans, not real insurance at all. Do NOT buy into that. Carefully read everything before buying a plan.

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Jhai
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I hate to "steal" Samarkand's, but since I have a very similar problem and all the experts are here...

I'm getting married in December, a bit earlier than planned because of visa issues. This will take me off my parent's insurance, of course. I'll be going to grad school next fall, and will most likely get health insurance in my funding package, so I only need to be insured from Dec to June. (Most of the summer will be spent in India, where all health care is relatively cheap, so I don't need insurance for the summer.) I'm a senior in college, and will have access to the health center there until graduation in May, so I don't expect to need general doctor visits.

What I do need: insurance against hospital visits, basically. If I break an arm or am hospitalized with a blood clot (see below) I'll need insurance.

Problem: I have a genetic blood-clotting disorder. It means that I need to take coumadin daily (I don't need prescription coverage because the generic is pretty cheap) and blood tests every couple of weeks (which my school's health center covers). I've also had two hospitalizations in the past three years - once with the first major clot I had, the second when I came off the coumadin after the first clot. Since then I've stayed on coumadin and haven't had a problem. But obviously, it *could* happen, and I need to be prepared for it.

So, what are my options? Is there any insurance group that will cover me? Something specifically for student? Obviously, there's always COBRA, but that's really, really expensive, and I don't *need* all of the benefits that I would be paying for.

Also, if I drop the insurance for the summer, will that make difficulties when I get on the university's plan next fall?

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pH
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Crap student insurance. Pretty much the only thing it will cover without demanding tons of money or drowning you in paperwork is the ER/hospital. But it's kinda cheap, if you go through your school. But yeah, the graduation/grad school gap is stupid, and apparently even if your policy says it lasts through August, it doesn't really if you graduated. Or something. I stopped trying to figure it out.

Just don't try to see any specialists or real doctors. When in doubt, urgent care clinic!

-pH

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Tante Shvester
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I changed jobs to one that I like less, largely because my family needed the insurance*. I know other people who work for the benefits more than for the pay.

This country is very messed up when it comes to providing health care for its people. I am ashamed.

*and the pay was much better, too.

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andi330
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Kaiser Permanente is evil. My father had it, during my first two years in college and then we went back to military coverage. (I will never understand why he gave up the military coverage in the first place.) Kaiser refused to pay for me to see any doctors that were not in one of the Kaiser Permanente buildings, despite the fact that the nearest building was in Charlotte (over an hour away) and I did not have a car to get me there. This meant that (aside from seeing the Campus doctor, which only really worked for illness) in order to see a doctor that was covered by my plan, I had to take a day off of classes, buy a Greyhound bus ticket, and take the bus to Charlotte. From the bus station I then took a cab to the Kaiser Permanente building. It literally took a whole day to get anything done, since you had to leave early enough to make sure you arrived in time for the appointment, and you had to leave your return ticket late enough to ensure that you didn't miss your bus because your appointment ran late.

It is due to my experiences with Kaiser that I will NEVER go back to an HMO. EVER.

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DDDaysh
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I looked up Unicare, just on a whim, and it seems like they don't cover anyone under 51 in Colorado. However, United Health Care seemed to have some *reasonably* priced plans. I'm not saying it's cheap, but any means, but probably cheaper than COBRA, so you should look into it. www.uhc.com
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Theca
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For healthy 20 somethings, there might be new plans out there. I finally found this article again:

http://www.emediawire.com/releases/2006/3/emw361750.htm

And for the person who just wants coverage for Really Big Things, there is this:

http://www.insurance.com/Article.aspx/Understanding_Catastrophic_Health_Insurance_/artid/43

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