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Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 05:14 PM   #1
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Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

I've figured out an alternative to getting health insurance coverage through an employer. Get it through your local University.

My local State university, North Carolina State University, has an optional group health plan for all enrolled students. The premiums are $1400/yr individual, $3600/yr husband and wife, and $5000/yr family. The plans are Blue Cross Blue Shield plans that have a $200 deductible and pay 80% of medical expenses. You must be a student to enroll in one of these plans. At NCSU, you could potentially sign up as an undergraduate and take one 3 credit hour course per semester ($542 per semester) for 20 years before you "graduated". They offer many online classes. Many evening classes, even some weekend classes.

If you have existing health conditions that make it hard for you to get reasonably priced health insurance, or you can't get it at all, this may be an option. Yea, you'd have that pesky class to worry about. I personally wouldn't mind learning a little more about some selected subjects I didn't have time for the first time around (more foreign languages, sociology, anthropology, economics, genetics, etc).

I haven't seen any snags in my plan. You may only have to take one class per year, since once you pay for the insurance in August, it runs till August the following year. Just wanted to pass this nugget of wisdom along. If you're 60-ish and trying to bridge the gap till medicare starts up, this may do the trick if you don't mind getting your proverbial learn on.

This plan also assumes you have access to a dirt cheap state university with a group health insurance plan.

Thoughts? Critiques?
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

They really allow you to be eligible if you are a part time student? The university plans I have seen require full time or nearly full time status.

Some of these plans have very low maximum benefits.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 05:37 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

I'm looking at this seriously for my medical coverage for the next year while I get my MBA. In my case, Martha's right. I have to enroll at least full time; also, the maximum prescription coverage is $400 -- probably not enough for the average 60 year old.

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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

I had another thought. Because university health insurance plans are not "employer" group plans, you don't have any COBRA rights once you no longer are a student.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 05:40 PM   #5
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Going back to school, sounds like work
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 06:06 PM   #6
 
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Yea, you'd have that pesky class to worry about.* I personally wouldn't mind learning a little more...
Where does it say you have to go to class?
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 06:07 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Going back to school, sounds like work
Ha! I don't get paid

I got health insurance from the university as a full-time grad student. *They offered me two options: 1) high deductible/catastrohpe or 2) bells and whistles. *It is cheap. *May not be as attractive for older retirees but it may be for healthy ERs (a class all by itself). *

I don't think they offer it for p-t students. *Med facilities are pretty solid. *No complaints. *

Quote:
Where does it say you have to go to class?
As long as you have a full-time course schedule that is
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 06:13 PM   #8
 
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Here is what it said in the catalog of a local university:

Student Health Services - 40
Health Center Building

The nationally accredited Student Health Center offers a comprehensive range of primary care services and health education programs to all registered students. Totally funded by students through the mandatory health fee, the Student Health Center offers:

Convenient, accessible care
Affordable, low-cost care
Personalized care
High patient satisfaction
Privacy and confidentiality
A variety of health care professionals such as doctors, nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, pharmacists, clinical laboratory scientists, health educators, and medical clerical personnel staff both the Health Center and the satellite clinic in Stockton. In caring for the whole student, the staff strives to enhance studentsí physical and emotional wellness to contribute to their academic and career success.

Specific services include:

Preventive services
Immunizations and TB screening
Menís and womenís health (physicals, pap smears)
Cholesterol screening
Blood pressure monitoring
Primary medical care services
Treatment of illness and injury
Minor office surgery
Health education and wellness programs
On-site Laboratory and Pharmacy services
Supplemental student health insurance
A low-cost group policy to cover major accidents, illnesses or referrals to specialists for conditions not within the scope of health center personnel
Provisions for family and dependent coverage
Opportunities for student involvement
Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)
Peer Health Educators

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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 07:39 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Where does it say you have to go to class?
Well you wouldn't neccesarily have to go to class but you'd have to pass your classes or they'd kick you out possibly quicker than you'd like.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 08:42 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

I know someone who has taken one course each fall, and signed up and paid for 12 months of health insurance. She repeats the next year. If you got horribly sick you might run out of coverage, but for America it isn't bad.

Three credit hours, one trimester.

Ha
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 09:29 PM   #11
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Thoughts?* Critiques?*
I'm really not sure how I feel about this idea. I'm sure it would work, but if too many aged people do this, then the cost of the health plans will inevitably rise.... especially if some of the new 'students' have very expensive chronic/acute conditions. In an era of double-digit tuition increases, how much more can students afford to pay? Sure, 'you' may technically be a student, but i'm talking about all those 18-22 year olds that you would also like to graduate, get a job, and pay for your SS benefits.

If you want to try this, go ahead- just don't tell anyone else about this idea. Coupled with the fact that many universities will offer up to 3 credits/quarter for FREE to seniors, this could become a very bad win(seniors)/lose(youth) situation.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 09:31 PM   #12
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Funny but you should only do it if you want to take classes. Drop several grand for school + books but hey you get health insurance.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 09:39 PM   #13
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by davew894
I think this is a great idea.* It is ideas like this that are going to help me meet my retirement goals.* I was thinking about becoming an adjunct professor when I retire, just for fun.* I wonder if they have insurance for adjunct professors?
The correct term is 'adjunct faculty'- A 'professor' is the top of the academic food chain. Having worked for a bit at a university, I found that the QUICKEST way to get on someone's bad side is to get that wrong As a student, I tought everyone was a 'professor'.... as a 'staff', I quickly learned how naÔve I was.... quite the academic caste system! Also, if you're not in the upper echelons of academia, you obviously have nothing valuable to contribute

professor*
associate professor*
assistant professor*
instructor (faculty)+
adjunct faculty+

* is usually a tenure track and usually require a PhD at the 4 year level
+ is usually a non-tenure track position, usually requires a masters
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 09:59 PM   #14
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

From my preliminary research, here's what I found.

Wildcat,

At my local university, the cost, as I stated, is $542 for one class. Not thousands. As to minimum number of classes you have to take, our plan eligibility says "enrolled students" are eligible. This is distinguished from continuing education/Lifelong Education students that must take at least 9 credit hours.

The Student Health Services is part of the university you pay for through your student fees. My idea revolves around the supplemental voluntary insurance you can purchase. The benefits are almost identical to the standard BCBS Blue Options plan you can buy as an individual.

Martha,

The rates I quoted were for $1,000,000 lifetime maximum. They also sell a $100,000 lifetime max plan for a little less. COBRA - probably not likely to get it.



Yes, you'd have to complete your classes to some degree of satisfaction to stay enrolled. Get a C? D? I'm thinking, how hard would it be to take History 101 and get a C? I think the biggest problem would be the classes. If you didn't mind doing to bare minimum to scrape by, it probably wouldn't be too bad. You don't have to take thermodynamics or differential equations or anything. I'm talking about tennis, underwater basketweaving, socioeconomic dimensions of gender slavery, those kinds of classes.

This was just an interesting idea I came up with and thought it might kickstart a few creative minds to find interesting ways to solve the health insurance problem during ER. I may even use it to insure my family while I'm legitimately in school right now. "Unfortunately" it may take me a decade to graduate though...

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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 10:05 PM   #15
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
At my local university, the cost, as I stated, is $542 for one class. Not thousands. As to minimum number of classes you have to take, our plan eligibility says "enrolled students" are eligible. This is distinguished from continuing education/Lifelong Education students that must take at least 9 credit hours.
That would good in your case. $1000s in my case to be a full-time prisoner.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-12-2005, 11:52 PM   #16
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddythebeagle
Going back to school, sounds like work
It also sounds expensive, did someone forget about tuition. Most colleges ain't free.
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-13-2005, 02:05 AM   #17
 
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
but you'd have to pass your classes or they'd kick you out...
OK, how about you sign up for a class for a subject that you're an expert in, and find out when the final exam is?
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-13-2005, 06:52 AM   #18
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

I still think it would be easier to have a "business" and join an
"organization" offering health insurance to it's members. The main
advantage to this is you wouldn't actually have to do any work
(or very little). We still may opt for this system.

JG
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-13-2005, 08:01 AM   #19
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Beyond the fact that most schools require you to be a full time student, I see one significant issue, the one HaHa hinted at. Your enrollment runs for one year and then you re-enroll if you are still eligible. If you became seriously ill, it might make it difficult to continue the student status. Since you are not Cobra eligible, you would be left without insurance.

Justin, I am impressed by the lifetime maximums offered by your school's plan. Are you really sure you could get by with only one 3 credit class? What is the definition of an "enrolled student?"
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance
Old 09-13-2005, 08:08 AM   #20
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Re: Cheap way to get guaranteed health insurance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Beyond the fact that most schools require you to be a full time student, I see one significant issue, the one HaHa hinted at. Your enrollment runs for one year and then you re-enroll if you are still eligible. If you became seriously ill, it might make it difficult to continue the student status. Since you are not Cobra eligible, you would be left without insurance.

Justin, I am impressed by the lifetime maximums offered by your school's plan. Are you really sure you could get by with only one 3 credit class? What is the definition of an "enrolled student?"
I checked into this at a local university prior to retirement, thinking it could be an insurance option. Turned out it isn't:

- "Enrolled student" = 12 semester hours
- Lifetime maximum of $500,000
- No COBRA

Plus some interesting limitations such as no coverage for organ transplants and a maximum of $500 per year for sexually transmitted diseases...

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