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Old 09-10-2010, 02:23 AM   #21
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I have actually checked into various certificate programs in the health care field just to possibly get a part time job that most likely would include health insurance. I work at home on our own business, but maybe a part time job to get out of the house wouldn't be so bad - especially if it meant good insurance and not having to have one of us hold a 60 hours a week, with a long commute megacorp job just for the benefits.

Places like Starbucks and Whole Foods supposedly have benefits for part time workers, but I think there is a lot of competition right now for jobs like that and then if you get laid off you are back at square one as far as health insurance goes.
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Old 09-10-2010, 07:24 AM   #22
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From what I have seen, employees are usually (strangely) unsympathetic to such proposals; but you have little to lose in trying, and perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised.
Sorry, should have read "... employers are usually (strangely) unsympathetic to such proposals ...
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Old 09-10-2010, 08:44 AM   #23
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My husband went back to work fulltime - after 6 months of golf and relaxation - due to concerns about health insurance. He had, and still continues to have the option, of subsidized health insurance from a mega employer. However, with all the saber rattling about the health insurance before he left the company, he isn't confident that what was promised is a done deal. His former employer is not listed at the gov. heath ins. site.

Also, the politics of Obama's health insurance seem to be far from settled. This is a high profile issue in the upcoming election and already, yesterday Howard Dean was talking about upcoming legislative changes.


I would hold off until after the election and see what is on the agenda. This could be "dicey". Presently, the amount of money you have amassed, while important once you have reached your "number", is not the issue that seems to be critical to Early Retirement. Health Insurance currently is THE BIG deciding issue.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:00 AM   #24
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Presently, the amount of money you have amassed, while important once you have reached your "number", is not the issue that seems to be critical to Early Retirement. Health Insurance currently is THE BIG deciding issue.
I'm not sure that I understand this. Isn't health insurance more or less a question of money? If you have to pay $1,200/mo instead of $400/mo, then you need $800/mo more and so your magic number has to be $200K more, or whatever. Or have I missed something from my comfortable position sitting here in France with near-zero-deductible health coverage underwritten by the government?

(Aside: I'm currently laid up at home with a badly-bruised and swollen ankle. Went to the ER where I had an X-ray, saw a doctor, he wasn't sure, send me for a CT scan, saw another doctor, and got a "nothing broken" verdict. Total bill: $240, 3/5 of which was for the scan. I suspect that this might have been higher in the US.)
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:42 AM   #25
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How would it sit with you if you wait two years in order to get the healthcare benefit and then to have it cancelled later by your company? This is exactly what happened to me although it took 20 years for them to cancel. Health insurance was a promise to us when we hired on but was never in writing. Even at that, the company documents now read that anything can be altered or eliminated whenever they want.
Unless you have a contract with the company, I would never believe what they say.
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Old 09-10-2010, 10:54 AM   #26
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Isn't health insurance more or less a question of money?
No, for some of us it is really more of a question of simply qualifying for it. By the time you are in your fifties it is hard for many of us not to have had some disqualifying health event.

Our last experience with COBRA was pretty bad. The admin worked was outsourced to a disorganized HR firm. They did everything they possibly could administratively to not accept our payments. We didn't even get the enrollment forms until two months after my husband got laid off. And then it took even more months of phone calls and letters for them to actually activate the insurance.

They even discouraged me from sending the payments by registered mail because they said that "slowed down the process" and might cause us to miss the deadlines. So at every turn they put us between a rock and a hard place. The told us to just pay for everything ourselves in the mean time. It was lucky none of us were in a car accident or some other traumatic event during those months when my husband was between jobs and we had to reply on COBRA for our insurance.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:24 PM   #27
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Presently, the amount of money you have amassed, while important once you have reached your "number", is not the issue that seems to be critical to Early Retirement. Health Insurance currently is THE BIG deciding issue.
As BigNick's post implies, the above is only true for the relatively small number of people who happen to live in the USA.

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Unless you have a contract with the company, I would never believe what they say.
Sure. That's why every newly hired or newly promoted employee should ask for a letter or other document spelling out the basic terms of their employment ... it only makes sense, and any reasonable employer will understand that both parties should have a clear understanding of their respective rights and obligations.


If an employer is reluctant to put promises in writing, it's almost always best to look for another job.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:34 PM   #28
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Or have I missed something from my comfortable position sitting here in France with near-zero-deductible health coverage underwritten by the government?
Yes, you have. First, you might not be able to qualify for insurance. Second, even if you qualify, there is always the risk of rescission if you get sick. A typical health insurance application will ask ridiculously detailed questions about every doctor's visit, every illness you've had for a period of years. Let's say you forget that 4 years ago you went to the doctor for a sore throat and you don't put it down. Then let's say you get the insurance and are diagnosed soon thereafter with some expensive illness (entirely unrelated to the sore throat). The insurance company can cancel your coverage on the ground that you misrepresented your health.
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Old 09-10-2010, 04:02 PM   #29
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Welcome ! I 'm with the see what your total expenses are before you make the decision camp. I would also warn you to read carefully the insurance coverage you are getting . They usually try to sneak in exclusions and limits to keep the policy cost down . Also if you take any medication regularly make sure that is covered and what the monthly cost is .
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Old 09-17-2010, 05:13 AM   #30
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Yes, you have. First, you might not be able to qualify for insurance. Second, even if you qualify, there is always the risk of rescission if you get sick. A typical health insurance application will ask ridiculously detailed questions about every doctor's visit, every illness you've had for a period of years. Let's say you forget that 4 years ago you went to the doctor for a sore throat and you don't put it down. Then let's say you get the insurance and are diagnosed soon thereafter with some expensive illness (entirely unrelated to the sore throat). The insurance company can cancel your coverage on the ground that you misrepresented your health.
Wow! And millions of people campaigned against changing some of this?
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:22 PM   #31
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I am always a bit surprised to hear of all the hubub about Health Insurance...I think perhaps we must have it "good" in my state (WA) and/or I just haven't had serious health complications. I have not had employer provided health insurance in over 10 years & no problems. I am in a "Group Plan" (with an HMO) for peeps who don't have employer coverage & my rate started at $81/month in my 40s and is now about $270/month. I have a deductible that has ranged from $1500 to $1900 per year. I was accepted because I carried "continuous Health Insurance" with few exclusions (and pre-existing was only excluded for a 6 month period) & although I had been previously seen by a DR for pain in my hip, which later turned into Expensive Surgery -Spinal Fusion -- it was covered fully subject to the new ins. cos terms. I had no rate increase or additional exclusions post surgery. If you are in a "group plan" they should not to my understanding be able to increase your rate unless they increase the rates of everyone in the Group.

Bottom line, my healthcare including the cost of insurance runs between $4K - $6k per year & can be funded. So I would suggest perhaps looking into this option in your area.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:33 PM   #32
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If you can be part of a group insurance policy thats got to be better. With an individual policy I worry that they can keep raising your rates and cancel you for anything. You may find yourself having to shop for insurance every couple of years. Insurance worry is the single biggest reason I don't FIRE right now.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:51 PM   #33
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If you are in a "group plan" they should not to my understanding be able to increase your rate unless they increase the rates of everyone in the Group.
This is what I read from a blog post from someone who works in the industry. The trick is they raise the rates for the whole group. The healthy people start to drop out and re-apply for a lower cost or different insurance, over time leaving only those who can't qualify for new insurance coverage in the existing plan. Then they are free to keep raising the rates for the captives left in the plan to whatever amount they want, knowing their captive customers have no other options other than going without insurance altogether.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:00 AM   #34
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This is what I read from a blog post from someone who works in the industry. The trick is they raise the rates for the whole group. The healthy people start to drop out and re-apply for a lower cost or different insurance, over time leaving only those who can't qualify for new insurance coverage in the existing plan. Then they are free to keep raising the rates for the captives left in the plan to whatever amount they want, knowing their captive customers have no other options other than going without insurance altogether.
I was in the Insurance Industry for over 20 years (not in Health insurance, but at a high level in Commercial Insurance.) Have yet to recall ever getting together with my coworkers to conspire to "screw the consumer" despite what the general public may think. And I was in the rate/form end of things.

I think your comment could be considered a YMMV sort of thing.

In my case, the HMO did close the Group Plan, it is true. They have newly formed plans available that are not as good of coverage as my plan (higher coinsurance requirements) and the new plans Actually costs more, but only a $150/monthly difference (still fund-able). Rates do go up a % every year (to be expected, because health insurance costs continue to rise) plus there are AGE of Participant Rate Bands, but nothing too extreme so far. Non smokers get a lower rate, which is how it should be, IMO.

On High Deductible Plans, the Insurer is not involved on the frequent, little stuff & they don't load high administrative costs/profit margin into this equation either so that is win/win. The Insurance is involved in those "big" health events we all fear. Because it is an HMO, my annual check up & flu shots, etc. are free.

Once a year the HMO allows its participants to change plans if they like as well, but I haven't been tempted at all. Anyhoo....your "blogger" hasn't rung true in my case. Just the opposite so far....
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:12 PM   #35
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We're in very similar situation to yours except my DW does not work and had cancer so it's almost impossible to get insurance coverage on the individual market here in CA.
I'm sorry to hear about your wife. My best to both of you.

-helen
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