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Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 01-31-2005, 07:11 AM   #1
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Group health coverage for ER's?

...I just saw the following news blurb and found it interesting:

"Minneapolis (January 27, 2005) – UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) announced today its support for the National Health Access initiative launched by the HR Policy Association at the behest of a coalition of Fortune 500 companies.

UnitedHealth Group worked closely with the HR Policy Association to design the program, and the coalition selected Uniprise, a business unit of UnitedHealth Group, as the primary provider of the group health plans.

“It is unacceptable that 44 million Americans do not have health insurance. UnitedHealth Group has long held that business, government, health care providers, health insurers and consumers themselves all have a role to play in fixing the problem. We see innovative programs like National Health Access as part of a mosaic of solutions needed to address this problem,” said UnitedHealth Group Chairman and CEO William W. McGuire, M.D. “Therefore, we are pleased to participate in National Health Access and to serve the member companies of the HR Policy Association and their employees.”

National Health Access is designed to help working Americans who previously did not have access to employment-based coverage for themselves and their dependents. Worker groups eligible to voluntarily participate include part-time workers, temporary and seasonal employees, contract workers, workers at franchises with more than 50 employers, and pre-Medicare retirees without employer-sponsored coverage. The HR Policy Association estimates that at least 3 million currently uninsured Americans could benefit from National Health Access."


http://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/new...5/0127NHAI.htm

It'll be interesting to see the details this September.

Cb
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-22-2006, 08:03 AM   #2
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Greetings CB:

Do you know how this turned out?

A method for securing health insurance for my family is the late remaining roadblock for my ER plans

Thanks,
Jim
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-22-2006, 09:13 AM   #3
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Jim, I don't know where this initiative is at; haven't heard anything since UnitedHealth's press release.

Have you looked at www.ehealthinsurance.com for quotes? Are you familiar with rights that you might have in your state? If not, look at the Georgetown University guide at www.healthinsuranceinfo.net.

If you want to tell us what state you live in, people here might have some ideas for you.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-22-2006, 09:35 AM   #4
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Jim, I've Googled for updates periodically (including a few minutes ago) and can't find any updates on that initiative. No great surprise, I guess.

Right now I'm still working part-time with employer health coverage. When I wrap it up in a few months I'll go onto my wife's mega-corp employee plan. She just might stay on long enough to get an early-out package including retiree health coverage, but in our ER planning I'm budgeting for private HSA-eligible health insurance.

Here are our (current) plans for health coverage if my wife retires without retiree health coverage taken from The Thing I Wrote For My Wife:

"I think we ought to go with a straight $5000 deductible plan, in which we’d pay 100% for all costs (including prescriptions) until we hit the $5000 point, and $0 thereafter. The better plans cost around $250-$300 per month, or ~$3,600 per year.

I expect that in most years our total health care costs would be the around $4000 - $4500.
$3600 premium plus $500 - $1000 out of pocket for our expenses under the $5000 limit

In the worst case they’d hit a maximum of $7850, the $3600 premium + ($5000 x 85%)
on the $5000 out-of-pocket you subtract the 15% HSA tax benefit

So in all probability we’d bear 100% of our health care costs, never hitting the insurance unless something catastrophic happens. Because we had that coverage we’d still get the substantial discounts negotiated by our provider on our out-of-pocket expenses, however.

I’ve budgeted $9000 each year for health care costs anyway, partly to be conservative, but mostly because health insurance premiums are rising more quickly than inflation. In truth though, if one of us became sick enough that we were hitting our maximum deductible every year, our expenditures on travel and a number of other activities would probably fall. It’s also conceivable that the sick guy wouldn’t make 102 years of age."
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-22-2006, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Hi Martha!

thanks for the speedy reply.

I live in North Carolina, and from reading past appends saw reference to the www.healthinsuranceinfo.net site.

I have just printed out the document there that applies to NC for some "light weekend reading"

Thanks in advance for any other suggestions from the group!

Jim

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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-22-2006, 10:37 AM   #6
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb
"Jim, I've Googled for updates periodically (including a few minutes ago) and can't find any updates on that initiative. No great surprise, I guess. "

>>> I am not surprised ... when it was announced I kinda figured it was a PR move

"I think we ought to go with a straight $5000 deductible plan, in which we’d pay 100% for all costs (including prescriptions) until we hit the $5000 point, and $0 thereafter. The better plans cost around $250-$300 per month, or ~$3,600 per year. "

>>> Something like that would work for me & mine. I still have 2 kids @ home 12 & 16, so cost would be higher, but if as a family we had a $5K deductable and premiums of <say> another $5K/yr. that would be within reach.

I then would only worry about having the rug pulled out from under me.
By either having the policy cancelled or having the premiums raised so much that it became unaffordable. I guess the regulations on those items vary from state-to-state (I'm in NC).

I would hope that it is non-cancelleable (so long as I continue to pay premiums in timely manner) and that any rate increases would have to be applied to entire insured population?

My ER plan includes a small business that should make $10K per year (I hope) I need to talk to my acct. but I might (?) be able to deduct the premiums for the policy from the gross revenue of the business - by having the business "officially" make health care a benefit for employees and their family. If this is legal then the premiums would be paid with "pre-tax" dollars and the $5K deductable would be as well....

THANKS!!!!
Jim

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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-23-2006, 06:08 AM   #7
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Compared to New York for example, North Carolina is a breeze to acquire individual healthcare coverage. I've looked at both Aetna and BCBS and will likely choose Aetna when I establish NC residency.

After you've waded thru all that weekend reading call your doctor's office or go there and ask the "nice lady" in the billing department for an opinion. I did and I got some helpful info regarding the plans they accept and the plans they prefer.

Its a pain but once you get this out of the way other ER obstacles will be a cinch.


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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-23-2006, 02:54 PM   #8
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Thanks BUM!

When I leave my "real" job I'll have COBRA so I will have some quiet time to think thru the details and not have to jump into anything, I just want to make sure that I do "look BEFORE I leap" ;-)

Jim

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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-24-2006, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwooden
A method for securing health insurance for my family is the late remaining roadblock for my ER plans*
Because I'm healthy, I was able to get a High Deductible Health Plan (i.e., it's catastrophic insurance -- I pay for the small stuff and the health plan pays for the big stuff).

Once you get a High Deductible Health Plan, you are then eligible to open a Health Savings Account.* If you happen to be healthy, the financial benefits of these plans are excellent.

To research this, go to www.treas.gov (click on “Health Savings Accounts HSA”).* But you might also want to talk to an insurance agent for the details for your particular situation.* There is a lot of "small print" in terms of eligibility and what you can and cannot do with these plans.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-24-2006, 08:20 AM   #10
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

I am single and active and healthy (so far at 58). I am shortly moving out of NYC, one of the reasons is to lower the cost of insurance. I am planning to get a high deductable policy. I was wondering for those of you who either have it or plan to get it, what do you consider to be a high ded amount, $2.5k, $5k or $10k.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-24-2006, 10:14 AM   #11
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Thanks Roger!

"fine print" ... yeah I may have to go ahead and pull the trigger on ER so I'll have time to READ all the fine print :P

Found one article here from consumers report that is "less than complimentary" on some aspects of HSAs....

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/a...hplans0605.htm


Vagabond:
Just a comment ... insurance in theory at least is to help you protect against a risk that you can not personally protect against and still sleep well. Again, in theory, since you have no health issues now, I get the prices on all 3 deductables. I'll bet you find it worthwhile to move "up the ladder on the ded. amount to at least $5K. Insurance companies don't want to process paperwork anymore than you do, so from my limited experience seem to "reward" higher ded. with lower premiums due to reduced risk on the company's part and also reduced hassle as they are less likely to have to do any work other than cash your checks...

Jim
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-24-2006, 03:56 PM   #12
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

I guess I am trying to determine what is the best value, for example AZ BCBS has
$5000 ded for $128 versus
$10000 ded for $95

It seems you are risking a lot to save a mere $396. It would take about 10 years to recoupe one bad medical year if you wound up staying in the hospital for 1 week.

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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-24-2006, 08:59 PM   #13
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Geezz.. I'd take the $5K deductable at those prices...

That's only one less dinner out a month cover the difference, or one good sale on eBay to pay the difference :P

what's the delta between $2.5K and $5K?

Jim
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-25-2006, 10:17 AM   #14
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwooden
Geezz.. I'd take the $5K deductable at those prices...

That's only one less dinner out a month cover the difference, or one good sale on eBay to pay the difference :P

what's the delta between $2.5K and $5K?

Jim
They weren't offering $2.5k.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-25-2006, 11:54 AM   #15
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

I favor lower deductibles as well. You have to consider the possibility that you get sick for many years and end up paying the full deductible every year. Plus if you're that sick you're probably paying for additional non-covered health expenses, which you might not be able to afford if you are paying big deductibles.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-25-2006, 12:21 PM   #16
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

I agree!
But sometimes there are some "annomalies" (sp?)

e.g. I got a quote from BCBS for regular (not-HSA) coverage a while back and to difference in annual premiums between the same policy with $500 ded. and $2500 ded. was about $2200/yr. so clearly worth going with the higher deductable.

Jim
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-25-2006, 12:55 PM   #17
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

From this data in AZ it seems that increasing the deductible amount does not worth the premium difference.
For most of us when doing the computation the best is to include current average expenses and only once every 10 years a very big expense (Per person?)? If a long term illness sets in there is time to change the insurance policy at that time and any increase in cost can be well compensated by previous savings.

Am I right about the once every 10 years? What is the consensus about probability of a serious illness/accident? DOes anyone has any stats about this to share?

Did anyone read the book from Paul Zane Pilzer "the new health insurance solution"
It actually says that Cobra and Employer based health insurance are NOT good deals and that it is cheaper to have individual health insurance while you are healthy and keep it thereafter.

perinova
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-26-2006, 04:52 PM   #18
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by perinova
If a long term illness sets in there is time to change the insurance policy at that time and any increase in cost can be well compensated by previous savings.
There is time but there might not be availability. Once you have a serious long term illness you may not be able to find any other affordable insurance. This is why our system is broken.
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-26-2006, 05:07 PM   #19
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by free4now
There is time but there might not be availability.* Once you have a serious long term illness you may not be able to find any other affordable insurance.* This is why our system is broken.
IMO, our system is broken but not for this reason. To allow what you suggest is to destroy insurance, because of adverse selection.

You should always be able to continue insurance at whatever level you chose when you were underwritten, but not to carry a cheap high deductible policy and then exchange it for an all-coverage policy when you get seriously ill. The people who paid for a full policy all along would pay for this system gaming.

Ha
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?
Old 04-26-2006, 05:56 PM   #20
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Re: Group health coverage for ER's?

Quote:
You should always be able to continue insurance at whatever level you chose when you were underwritten, but not to carry a cheap high deductible policy and then exchange it for an all-coverage policy when you get seriously ill. The people who paid for a full policy all along would pay for this system gaming. Ha

Yes but what if one, at age 18, cannot afford the kind of policy he will need at 40 or 50 or 60 or 19 after a life altering totally disabling illness sets in, or accident is incurred? See, then people will say "He SHOULD HAVE planned ahead". Now, if he says he can't afford it they will be told... "You're young/healthy get a cheap assed policy because you don't NEED anything else. Why spend the big money? "

See either way a person chooses as certain class of people will sh!t on him and blame him as if we can all see the exact future in all our lives.

Another broken part of insurance is lifetimes caps. Don't get sick more than 1 or 2 million bucks. Or maybe we can all simply by a 50 billion dollar policy at age 17 or 18 (When they're cheap, ya know) and grow old, and sick, and get run over by motorcycles or SUVs and not have to worry about it?

And another broke part of the system is, even if you are too sick or hurt to work and keep those big bucks comming in you still have to pay for the policy. That's a great way to find equalibrium. Guy buys a big time policy. Gets sick or hurt , maybe from an adverse reaction to an nnecessary drug that his doctor gave him. He gets several thousand, maybe several thundred thousand dollars worth of good care. Then it's renewal time. He is bankrupt due to not being able to work. Gets dropped from his expensive 10 million dollar lifetime cap policy. Well he should have known better and bought a cheaper policy he could afford!
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