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Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?
Old 03-23-2007, 10:59 AM   #1
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Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?

I am trying to assess what my real costs will be if I can ER now (at age 57). I understand and can project almost all my future costs pretty well -- except for health insurance.

I now have health insurance fr my family under Cobra but I do not know where or how to reliably find individual health insurance prices that pertain to our existing health conditions (which have some hypertension and other issues). I expect all the "quotes" from the free, on-line web sites are probably not reliable given we're not in perfect heath.

Wonder how other people have successfully find a good health insurance agent to help then understand and locate their options -- or if that is even the way to go?

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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?
Old 03-23-2007, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by more_or_less
I am trying to assess what my real costs will be if I can ER now (at age 57). I understand and can project almost all my future costs pretty well -- except for health insurance.

I now have health insurance fr my family under Cobra but I do not know where or how to reliably find individual health insurance prices that pertain to our existing health conditions (which have some hypertension and other issues). I expect all the "quotes" from the free, on-line web sites are probably not reliable given we're not in perfect heath.

Wonder how other people have successfully find a good health insurance agent to help then understand and locate their options -- or if that is even the way to go?

I think it is the way to go; and as with most things of this nature word of mouth is a good path. Ask a connected attorney or CPA, call your state insurance department, etc.

The agents commission will be picked up by the insurer, so go with a broker who is free to place your business with many or any insurer. Also check any groups you may belong to, they can sometimes help.

There are many older threads on this topic, but I am not very good with the search function.

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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?
Old 03-23-2007, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by more_or_less
I am trying to assess what my real costs will be if I can ER now (at age 57). I understand and can project almost all my future costs pretty well -- except for health insurance.

I now have health insurance fr my family under Cobra but I do not know where or how to reliably find individual health insurance prices that pertain to our existing health conditions (which have some hypertension and other issues). I expect all the "quotes" from the free, on-line web sites are probably not reliable given we're not in perfect heath.

Wonder how other people have successfully find a good health insurance agent to help then understand and locate their options -- or if that is even the way to go?
You can search for a local agent/broker by zipcode using the following website:

http://www.nahu.org/consumer/findagent.cfm

If you have hypertension, the insurance carriers will look for other cardio risk factors such as how long ago you were diagnosed (at least 6 months), how many medications are needed to control the condition, what is your current height and weight, and do you have elevated cholesterol in combination with the HBP? If your condition is controlled with one medication and has been controlled for at least 6 months, then you are looking at maybe a slight rate-up (10-25%) just as long as you have none of the other above mentioned risk factors. If you do have more than one of the other risk factors or are taking more than 2 meds to control the HBP, then you are looking at a potential declination of coverage. High Deductible, HSA compatible healthplans tend to be more lenient with the rate-ups than full coverage copay plans with drug copay cards, and that is because of the cost of meds. On a high deductible plan, your medication costs are a lower risk to the carrier, while on a copay plan the cost of meds is a higher risk to the carrier. Therefore, on a copay plan, if you are going to be accepted for coverage, your rate factor might end up being a bit higher than on a high deductible HSA compatible plan.

I hope all that info. helps. I am an insurance agent in the State of Colorado, and I have had a lot of experience with
people who have HBP. The above mentioned info. is based on my past experience. Underwriting guidelines vary from state to state, and state regulations regarding mandated coverage, community rating, and the ability or lack of ability to exclude pre-existing conditions from coverage all have an impact on how certain conditions are underwritten. The information I gave you above is based on Colorado underwriting guidelines. It may or may not be similar to other states.
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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?
Old 03-24-2007, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?

Thank you for the info and sources.

Yes, the DW and I have a few risk factors, so I am taking way from this that we will be facing some very big issues that may mean getting affordable individual insurance before we get to 65 and MC will be impossible; even before having gone to find out more from an agent in our state of Connecticut.

Ouch! But being prepared is better than being ignorant, so this info is very helpful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge

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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?
Old 03-24-2007, 03:36 PM   #5
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Re: Finding an Agent for Health Insurance?

In the process of educating yourself, you might want to read the consumer guide for Connecticut, put out by Georgetown University. http://www.healthinsuranceinfo.net/ct.pdf

If it turns out that you are not insurable in the non-group market, it looks like you have two options in your state. One is to purchase a conversion policy, which cannot have preexisting condition waivers or waiting periods. However, conversion policies are unsually pricey and do not provide the best coverage. Another option is the risk pool.

If at all possible, you will want to buy individual insurance not through the risk pool or through a conversion policy. A broker can be very helpful in finding something that may work for you.

Paul Zane Pilzer's state guide can give you some ideas on what is available, but unfortunately, the pricing figures are for healthy 35 years olds.
http://www.tnhis.com/statebystateguide.htm
The risk pool (Connecticut calls it the Health Reinsurance Association) has a lifetime cap of a million dollars and a maximum out of pocket of $7500 a year.
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