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Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans
Old 03-03-2006, 12:35 PM   #1
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Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans

Greetings! I am new to the FORUM, first-time posting.

Please share what advice or recommendations you can about finding Indiv Health/Medical coverage when we pull the plug at employment. COBRA continuance will not be very attractive due to the increase in premium, and it is a more inclusive plan than we really need for the money. We are thinking of a HDHP with HSA as we are in good health and experience little utilization - can self-fund routine ann. check-ups, dental, etc. and stash away in tax-deductible/tax-deferred HSA to build account value to fund big ticket expenses should our condition change. And after age 65, HSA funds can be withdrawn for any cause (not limited to qualified med expenses) but taxable as ord. income.

I'm shopping the mainline companies - United, Aetna, BCBS, Humana.

Any advice....pleeeze?!
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans
Old 03-03-2006, 12:47 PM   #2
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans

Do you have ANY preexisting conditions, tests that have had any abberrant results, or anything in any physical that resulted in advice from the doctor? Slightly high cholesterol, high blood sugar, a test that showed something that had them re-test to determine if the original test was accurate, even if the re-test showed no problems?

If you answered "yes" or "maybe" to any of the above, you might have a lot of trouble getting individual health care. You might have to pay out your cobra and then use the healthcare portability act to force a provider to take you.

A lot of people here use the high deductible with HSA approach, tromboneal did a report on it a little while ago...maybe a search will find it for you.

As far as qualification goes, I had a blood test over 4 years ago that turned up a minor thing on one of the liver enzymes...a retest showed that the original test was just off. My doctor said "You probably just ate a big steak or something before the original test". When I applied for individual blue cross coverage, they rejected me on the basis of that old flakey test.

Make sure you have coverage in writing before cancelling your existing coverage. The blue cross rep I talked to said "everythings all set", I asked "so you're going to cover me?", "oh sure...you should be getting the paperwork in the mail in a week or two". A month later, after I cancelled my old coverage, they sent a rejection letter. :P
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans
Old 03-03-2006, 03:19 PM   #3
 
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans

Click here for what I found on HSAs.

I opened my HSA with HSAAdministrators.com. They are slow and bank like (send it a check and it's two weeks before it's cashed and invested), but so far the service has been good.
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans
Old 03-03-2006, 03:38 PM   #4
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans

You can also get quotes from www.ehealthinsurance.com

To be sure you know your rights under your specific state laws and under federal law (HIPAA) I suggest that you read the guide for insurance for your state put out by Georgetown University at www.healthinsuranceinfo.net.

You have some rights under HIPAA when going from a group plan to an individual plan so it is important to have all your ducks in a row sooner rather than later.
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans
Old 03-04-2006, 04:41 PM   #5
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Re: Advice needed on Indiv Med Ins Plans

Thanks for those links, Martha - they were very informative and I've bookmarked them to look more closely at them later.

Since I'm considering living overseas after ER, it's interesting to read about these state laws and the protections they offer, particularily in light of this thread:

http://early-retirement.org/forums/i...p?topic=5477.0

(Essence of the thread is that even for an expat living in a foreign country, a state often won't let go of you as a "resident" without a fight for purposes of state income taxation ... so it's interesting to consider how these state health care laws might work to your advantage as a state "resident" even if you moved out of the country but wanted to maintain the safety net of health insurance in your home-country of the USA ...)

It would take some research to find out what states are most protective of their residents when it comes to providing them with access to health insurance, but it would be interesting to see. This is another factor for people considering where to live after ER, one that's probably overlooked more often in favor of state income tax.
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