Insurance Options in 2012

I’m always on the lookout for insurance options. Not that I’m optimistic at all. The DNC was downright depressing as people lauded Obama for getting them insurance. Too bad these people are inaccessible because I’d love to call them up to ask them how they managed that. Obama care has not made insurance more accessible for me. I’d like to say yet, but Healthcare.gov is even more depressing making it seem like I will only qualify for healthcare in 30 years, when I become eligible for Medicare.

So anyway, I’m looking for options and I come across this CNN article from 2009. Not only is it wrong, but as shockingly bad as Oprah’s money saving advice. Wait, you say? It’s from 2009, things have changed. Sure things have changed but information is still very wrong and I still hear it every day.

“Become a Group of One or Two”

What the article means by this is: start a small business, and then apply for health insurance. This sounds like a good plan right? Let me punch some holes in those rose-colored glasses. Group insurance is not inexpensive. Can it cost less than individual coverage? Possibly. Small group coverage (1 to 50 employees), however, is becoming increasingly cost prohibitive. On top of that, health insurance companies are starting to drop groups with less than 100 members. I’ll let you speculate as to why since in the next two years, companies with 50 or more people will be required to buy insurance for their employees.

The CNN article also spreads the bald face lie that Group insurance means they have to cover your preexisting conditions. In 2009, my insurance company informed me that they would no longer be covering me for conditions that they considered pre-existing…they already didn’t cover my Hypothyroidism or my chronic kidney stones because the former was diagnosed under a different policy and the latter occurred during a weeklong lapse in coverage while the company switched providers. Both had started as a six month period where they would not cover but turned into a blanket policy not to cover me for those issues at all. However, they had decided that they would no longer cover me for the PCOS, which I had been diagnosed for under the current policy. I was considered too high risk. When I tried to find out if that was legal, which many people told me wasn’t, I found out it was perfectly legal, insurance companies were not required to cover my health even though I had a group plan. Supposedly this will change in 2014, however they will be allowed to charge the company more if I am under a group policy.

At the time I was trying to get a quote to buy individual insurance because I was planning to quit my job and start business. That presented a whole slew of new problems. In Colorado, I was denied being able to buy one as a group of one or two.

“Get COBRA”

Every time I hear this, I think of Oprah’s advice to take your kids out of private school. COBRA, every time I’ve been offered it, cost more than I made in a month. How could I afford that when I’m unemployed? The article mentions a discount plan through the Department of Labor but this was only available for 9 months and is no longer an option.

“When you lose your employer-related insurance, apply for new insurance within 63 days.”

I applied before I lost it and after I lost it. I did not get denial letters. I got called by the rep for the company was talking to then told that I was being given to a new rep. Then they would transfer me to Cover Colorado. Every company I talked with did this. The CNN article says that I should be able to get coverage if I apply before 63 days had lapsed and gave a link to Families USA. Families USA is covered with rhetoric and political health news. Other than signing up for site and being able to email my legislator (which I can without their help) I wasn’t able to find any information about companies required to provide health insurance if you apply before the 63 day mark. There is plenty of links to faith-based, non-profit action groups which you can join if you’re part of those faiths and want to give to a lobbyist platform. They do have Consumer resource links but most of them were for Medicare recipients or caregivers. I am neither. Those few links which looked promising only lead to more article on how program should be set up, Power Point presentations and some more Medicare links. I did find two links to state based resources. For Colorado, the information told me to get COBRA or Medicaid and had the same outdated information about discounts. A PDF with that information did clear up the 63 day problem. I had to have no gaps in coverage for over 63 days, NOT insurance had to give me coverage if I were within 63 days. Oops CNN.

Other links on the site just led to Cover Colorado or the “New” High Risk pool for Colorado. GettingUSCovered, however it only covers preventative care and prescriptions. This plan does not cover all my medications and has a $500 dollar deductible for those that do. Not so bad, but here’s the thing: I don’t need preventative care coverage. I get that without a problem. GettingUSCovered wants to charge me $328 a month plus a $2,500 deductible just for preventative care. I DON’T PAY THAT IN A YEAR WITHOUT INSURANCE. Here’s a clue: preventative coverage is great and needed but it’s not what American’s need help affording. It’s prescriptions, and care for conditions that are beyond prevention, beyond eating right and exercising. Sure, those things are great, but those things? Readily available and at a low-cost.

“Find out whether your state has a high-risk pool.”

CoverColorado is the high risk pool for Colorado. I found out about them when health insurance companies started transferring me directly to them over the phone instead of telling me I was denied. While at the time I did qualify the agent told me that I would have to pay $10,000 a month or have a $10,000 deductible. This would also only cover preventative medicine and not my preexisting conditions. I couldn’t do that and was forced to go without. Now they have a handy calculator that tells you the possible rates and deductibles. Still pretty expensive, and there is a warning that it might not cover the preexisting conditions. Of course I don’t qualify now under eligibility. My only chance if I get letters of denial from health insurance companies. I’ve applied several times since then…I have never received a letter that I have been denied. I have asked for one, and have never received one.das

“See whether your professional organization offers group insurance.”

This isn’t such a bad idea. I’ve tried to do this in the past, belonging various professional organizations. Unfortunately they don’t always offer the insurance in every state and it’s not always affordable. So far, no dice.

After that, the CNN article has nothing. It jokingly tells you to move out east where you may get discount insurance but otherwise, SOL. My recent rounds of inquiries have led to nowhere. I guess I’ll hold my breath for another two years.

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