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BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months

Janie 03 Jun 10 - 02:08 AM
jeffp 03 Jun 10 - 08:41 AM
Maryrrf 03 Jun 10 - 10:20 AM
jeffp 03 Jun 10 - 10:43 AM
Leadfingers 03 Jun 10 - 11:34 AM
Janie 03 Jun 10 - 01:21 PM
maire-aine 03 Jun 10 - 01:23 PM
Rapparee 03 Jun 10 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,mg 03 Jun 10 - 01:46 PM
SINSULL 03 Jun 10 - 02:08 PM
maire-aine 03 Jun 10 - 05:37 PM
mg 03 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM
katlaughing 03 Jun 10 - 09:46 PM
Janie 03 Jun 10 - 10:51 PM
Janie 04 Jun 10 - 11:15 PM
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Subject: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 02:08 AM

I'm changing jobs the end of June. I'm 58 1/2 years old. My current employer, a relatively small non-profit, pays all of my premium for a catastrophic medical insurance policy with a $10,000 deductible and an employer HSA that reimburses the first $700 and the last $6000 of the deductible. Since I will no longer be an employee, the COBRA insurance will not have that benefit, so it will really be a $10,000 deductible, should I need medical care. (for my teenage son, I opted for a private BCBS policy with a $5000 hospital deductible, but covers outpatient doctor visits less a $20/$40 co-pay.) I will not be eligible for medical coverage through the new job until I finish the 3 month probationary period. I know from experience (had another company fold under me 2 1/2 years ago,) that it will be 3-6 weeks before I get the paper work about Cobra insurance and what that might cost. If I elect to pay for Cobra coverage, it will be retroactive to my last day of work.

I will also be without a pay check for approximately 5 weeks and will have to use my credit cards (shudder) to compensate during that period, with a plan to pay them off quickly during my first 3 months of employment, when I will have no benefits, but will also not be paying for any of those benefits.

Given the $10,000 deductible and the likelihood the Cobra premium will be several hundred to close to $1000 per month, I have been thinking that I would probably opt out, and go 3 months without medical insurance for myself. I have some medical issues that I have been putting off dealing with due to the deductible, but nothing that I don't think can wait for another 3 months. (The new job has much better insurance.)   

Then, this weekend, for the first time ever, I missed being the 4th car in a serious 3 car accident by about 6 inches, a split second, and pure luck. I did nothing to cause the accident, and could do nothing to prevent what I had resigned myself to be a head-on collision at 65 mph. A billiard effect occurred among the three cars that did hit and wreck, clearing my lane at the last possible nano-second. Needless to say, it has got me pondering going without medical insurance for 3 months, even with a high premium and a $10,000 deductible.

Who has been confronted with a similar situation regarding medical insurance? What goes into your assessment of risk tolerance vs risk aversion?


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: jeffp
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 08:41 AM

I'm signing up for COBRA, in fact did so this morning. I have a family to worry about, so it was a no-brainer. ARRA is subsidizing 65% of the cost for 15 months if you were separated between Sept 1, 2008 and May 31, 2010 and have no other medical insurance. That may affect your decision-making.


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Maryrrf
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 10:20 AM

Sometimes short term policies can be had for less $ than COBRA - google short term medical insurance. They usually only cover catastrophic, but that's really what you want to protect yourself against for these three months. Oh how I wish we'd have been able to get some meaningful health care reform put through....


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: jeffp
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 10:43 AM

In my case, our expenses would easily outstrip the cost of the insurance. Just the prescriptions alone are more than the unreduced cost. One of my prescriptions costs more a month than the subsidized rate. Be sure to do all the math when deciding. For just 3 months, maryrrf may very well be right. I don't know your particular situation, but $10,000 deductible is pretty high. Private insurance may be a better deal.


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 11:34 AM

For ALL its faults , I still say Thank God for the N H S ! If I am injured in a Car Crash I wont lose my home to pay bills !


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 01:21 PM

I hadn't even thought about short term insurance. that definitely sounds like it is worth researching. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: maire-aine
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 01:23 PM

When I left my employment, I opted to use COBRA. For myself as an individual, it was less than $500/mo. I could not bring myself to do without. My COBRA eligibility has run out, so I've gone to individual coverage (BCBS in Mich), and the cost is about the same, altho the benefits aren't quite as good. But all it takes is one accident, or one serious fall, and your finances could be ruined.

About all I can say is, run the numbers and do the best you can with what you can afford. Talk with insurance agents and try to do side-by-side comparisons.

Good luck,
Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 01:36 PM

Run the numbers. You have, I believe, 90 days after leaving to decide upon Cobra -- but it is NOT NOT NOT retroactive to your last day of work, but begins the last day of your last pay period (e.g., if your last day of work was the 15th and your last pay period ended on the 29th, your insurance ran out on the 29th and Cobra would be retroactive until the 29th, not the 15th -- although you would be covered under your employer's plan until the 29th). This is especially important in the case of medicines. Also, I'm not certain that you could insure only your son under Cobra.

When I retired I took Cobra; it cost me $763/month for myself and my wife (BCBS). When we had a claim for a visit to the doctor we had a rude shock: since we are both eligible for Medicare (Parts A & B) BCBS was functioning as a VERY high priced Medicare supplement!!

I dropped it on June 1.

Now we're flying under Medicare Parts A & B, with the hole closed by the medical bennies from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System -- and good for me for working there for 12 years! We have have membership in a HUGE medicine plan that's as good or better than we had under BCBS, my Medicare loophole is paid for and my wife's costs $60/month. I also have the VA to fall back on for medicines, although their co-pay is higher than that of Express Scripts, the plan I'm now on.

Sorry to have rambled on, but your age I'd take Cobra. And I don't think you have to wait anymore to have the new insurance kick in -- check on it. Cobra could just save your butt, your house, your son, and your general solvency.


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 01:46 PM

I agree. I would bite the bullet and take the insurance. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: SINSULL
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 02:08 PM

Here in Maine we have some health insurance for individuals. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is one. Mega someting the other. A way to have some coverage while you wait for the three months to go by. COBRA sounds prohibitive to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: maire-aine
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 05:37 PM

Something to be considered, but I'm a little fuzzy on these details:
If you stay on COBRA for 18 months (the general max), you can transition to individual ins without the waiting period for pre-existing conditions-- this is a benefit of the HIPAA law. Since you'll be getting ins with your new job, this might not apply, but it may be an issue for other folks.

Maryanne


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: mg
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM

You might not want a break in insurance for above reason..pre-existing conditions etc...mg


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 09:46 PM

From about 1996 to 2002 I was completely without health insurance. When it started costing us, through Roger's employer, more than our rent, I said no more. I was on oxygen then and still had a leaky heart valve. Luckily, when he got the job he now has, it included a good insurance plan with no pre-existing clause, so we opted in. It wasn't soon enough for my first ER bout so we're still making payments on the over 13,000 dollar hospital bill, but it did kick in just in time for the heart surgery, so we were very lucky.

When we canceled it in WY, we didn't own our own home, so it didn't seem there was so much to lose if something did happen. Now, it's the one thing which keeps Roger from retiring and going on Social Security; we could not afford health insurance. There is a terrible sense of guilt which goes with that...I do not like to see him work so hard, but he never complains and I know the guilt is all from me, none from him.

So, I don't know, Janie, if you can afford it, I'd say get some short-term or something. I was 43 when we went without coverage for me. I don't think I'd be so cavalier about it now at 57 even without the heart valve, etc.

REALLY glad to hear you made it through a very scary sounding auto pileup AND congrats on the new job!

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jun 10 - 10:51 PM

Rap,

Son, fortunately, will continue to be covered by the private policy I have for him. Because of his age, I was able to buy a better policy privately for him for only a few dollars more than the premium through the non-profit for the catastrophic policy. (The non-profit pays the premium for the employee, but not for family.) In fact, even when insurance kicks in at the new job, it may be less expensive for me to continue the individual policy for him than to include him on insurance through work. I'll need to take a close look at that.

It occurs to me, after reading the suggestions regarding short-term insurance, that short term insurance at somewhat lower group rates may be available through my alumni and professional associations. I have other insurances through both at excellent rates.

I appreciate all the comments that have been offered so far. Very helpful as I think things through and consider options, plus informing me of options I had not considered.


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Subject: RE: BS: COBRA vs No Insurance for 3 months
From: Janie
Date: 04 Jun 10 - 11:15 PM

FYI, short-term medical insurance is available through my alumni association at affordable rates.   Thought that might be useful information to some one else who is perhaps in the same or a similiar boat. I haven't done cost comparisons yet with other short-term plans, and also do not yet know what the cost of electing COBRA would be.


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