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One last item before FIRE: Health Insurance
Old 06-01-2010, 02:52 AM   #1
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One last item before FIRE: Health Insurance

I will be FIREing in the next 3 months or so.

The one last big item on my ToDo list is acquiring Health Insurance for my family.

I have always had health insurance through my jobs so this is a new world for me.

Are their any tips people could recommend in terms of how to secure the best price? Are their any obvious groups I should join to obtain a group rate?

What is the best way to go about this process to make sure I don't leave any obvious money on the table?

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:42 AM   #2
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I'm not sure what to tell you as far as price.
I do think you should start your applications very soon to be sure you get approved for coverage though.
Not sure of your age or family members age but this can make a big difference with the price you will get. (edit: Just noticed you are in your 40's with 10 year old) You will get better prices than I got .
I ended up with a blue cross individual 750 family plan. You can also call these insurance companies, they will assist you in choosing a plan suited for your personal situation. I think big blue gave me good advise when making my decision. But this is my first retirement year. Those with more experience may recommend something different. It will be interesting to follow this thread to see.
You can go to their site, put in your information and see the prices. The prices I got were the same as the ones listed at their web site. They also locked me into the price for one year. Not sure what will happen at the end of this year but most folks see increases.
Hope this helps, its a start at any rate.
Steve
PS. A lot of forum members go with higher deductibles than I chose.
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:19 AM   #3
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ehealthinsurance.com is a good place to start shopping. Whenever I've checked prices directly with the provider they are the same.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:09 AM   #4
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An independent agent can be helpful as well. I second checking eheathinsurance.com.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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hi all,

Thank you for the responses.

I think my original question was poorly worded. I have some knowledge in how to obtain health insurance for my family. What I was more curious about was how to obtain a group rate type price.

I have heard that there are groups that one can join for a yearly fee, like the Chamber of Commerce, that might get one a better price than I could get as an individual. I was wondering if there were any specific techniques that people used to help with the price.

I have problems using ehealthinsurance.com for some reason. I choose Individual and Family, plug in my zip code, add my family information and it always returns 0 plans. I may have to give them a call directly.

I do think my wife was happy with our current Blue Cross Blue Shield so I may call them directly as well and see what they suggest.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:39 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, people seem to rarely get a better price going through one association or another for insurance. It is still not a group plan, underwriting is required and pricing is much the same as any non-group plan. So the chamber, the bar association, AARP and others really don't have much to offer. Once there was an association plan for engineers that was very favorable but I understand the plan is no longer available.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:43 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, people seem to rarely get a better price going through one association or another for insurance. It is still not a group plan, underwriting is required and pricing is much the same as any non-group plan. So the chamber, the bar association, AARP and others really don't have much to offer. Once there was an association plan for engineers that was very favorable but I understand the plan is no longer available.
OK thank you, that seems to make some sense. I was actually going to look into the IEEE (the engineering plan you were referring to I think. Wife and I were both engineers for our whole career) plan. I will double check just to make sure it is not available
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:44 AM   #8
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Keep COBRA coverage in mind. It might be the best value, and you are guaranteed coverage at your group's rates. The downside is that it's generally only good for 18 months.

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Old 06-01-2010, 11:12 AM   #9
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Keep COBRA coverage in mind. It might be the best value, and you are guaranteed coverage at your group's rates. The downside is that it's generally only good for 18 months.

Coach
thank you for the advice.

I originally did not want to think about cobra because I figured I should just go through the hassle now of getting new insurance since the Cobra would run out but I did not realize that Cobra allowed me to get my company's group rate.

I will look into this some more. Thanks again.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:22 AM   #10
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You might also want to read our FAQ on buying private health insurance: (FAQ archive) Buying Private Health Insurance It is geared more for people who may be uninsurable but has information and links that may be helpful to you as well.

And the one on health savings accounts: (FAQ archive) Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:46 AM   #11
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You might also want to read our FAQ on buying private health insurance: (FAQ archive) Buying Private Health Insurance It is geared more for people who may be uninsurable but has information and links that may be helpful to you as well.

And the one on health savings accounts: (FAQ archive) Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
sweet, will read both through. Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:23 PM   #12
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I originally did not want to think about cobra because I figured I should just go through the hassle now of getting new insurance since the Cobra would run out but I did not realize that Cobra allowed me to get my company's group rate.
Just to clarify, you keep the group rate but you pay the whole price plus usually a 2% administration fee. However, it is a group rate. Your employer is probably subsidizing it while you are employed. Mine comes with vision included and dental as an option, all under COBRA, all for 18 months - I just checked on it Friday.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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OK thank you, that seems to make some sense. I was actually going to look into the IEEE (the engineering plan you were referring to I think. Wife and I were both engineers for our whole career) plan. I will double check just to make sure it is not available
They killed it a few years ago and their rates were terrible anyway. Looks like they have catastrophic care and medicare supplement but no basic medical plan. If you find they do, carefully look at the rates.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:34 PM   #14
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I'd also suggest, if you haven't already, get a copy of your medical records so when you apply, you have that history in front of you.
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:09 PM   #15
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ASCE still offers an affilated HSA healthcare plan to members in about 35 states.

Group Comprehensive HealthCare HSA High-Deductible Insurance Plan - ASCE Member Insurance Program

I had a disability policy through ASCE at one time. I have also had term life through this program for years (no claims yet ).

But I have no information on their health program, other than it exists and has been offered for many years.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:33 AM   #16
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When I reduced my weekly work hours from 20 to 12 back in 2007, I switched to COBRA which was a much better deal than I could get in the individual market. I was able to keep dental, too, which was crucial because I needed some dental work in those next 18 months.

In 2008, I found a decent individual plan through ehealthinsurance.com and switched to it after COBRA expired. It doesn't have dental, but if you don't have any big dental expenses beyond checkups and maybe a small cavity here and there, you pretty much break even. I needed to find a decent individual plan whether I retired or not (I did retire in late 2008) although it was finding this plan which was one of the last big hurdles to retiring when I did.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:36 AM   #17
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In case their are other Mass people on here, ehealthinsurance.com will not work for any zip code in Massachusetts.

I called ehealthinsurance and they said so many of the providers are butting heads with the state that they, hopefully temporarily, do not have access to the information so anyone with a Mass zip code will always show up with "no plans available", which was the problem I ran into I mentioned earlier in the thread.

If people are looking for health care in Mass, they need to use the following link:

https://www.mahealthconnector.org/po...ite/connector/
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:37 AM   #18
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In general, do Dental plans cover anything for braces?

Outside of that, I think I would simply do a pay as you go instead of getting insurance at least for the first few years of retirement.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:40 AM   #19
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ASCE still offers an affilated HSA healthcare plan to members in about 35 states.

Group Comprehensive HealthCare HSA High-Deductible Insurance Plan - ASCE Member Insurance Program

I had a disability policy through ASCE at one time. I have also had term life through this program for years (no claims yet ).

But I have no information on their health program, other than it exists and has been offered for many years.
Thanks for the info. Sadly, Mass is one of the states that is excluded from this policy.
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Old 06-03-2010, 08:41 AM   #20
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They killed it a few years ago and their rates were terrible anyway.
Any plan that is ALL of the following:

* Group rates without underwriting
* Not subsidized by employers, governments or other group
* Not mandatory

Is going to have massively unsustainable adverse selection which will kill the plan.
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