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Health Ins Broker in Seattle?
Old 03-29-2008, 08:40 AM   #1
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Health Ins Broker in Seattle?

My sister lost her job last week so she and her family are about to enter health insurance hell. Cobra will be unaffordable for her so she will probably get a high deductible plan. They are not high consumers of health care (no chronic conditions) but they need to be protected against the catastrophic. Mom and I can help her manage the medical bills through the deductible, if required.

Does anyone have a referral for a broker in the Seattle area?
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Old 03-29-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
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Since I'm going on COBRA on 4/1/08, I've also been interested in my health insurance options.

This is a very good site for basic research on health insurance options. I especially like the ability to get instant and anonmyous quotes based only on age/marital status/etc.

Health Insurance, Medical Insurance, Individual Health Insurance Quotes

I found the site from a reference in this 3/27/08 article in the NY Times (click through the advertisement--I don't think you need to register)

NY Times Advertisement
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Old 03-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #3
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I used to kind of know one based in Colorado but I don't know if you want to go down that road
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Old 03-29-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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I used to kind of know one based in Colorado but I don't know if you want to go down that road
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Old 03-29-2008, 12:31 PM   #5
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I did refer her immediately to ehealthinsurance to start scoping out the situation.
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health insurance, COBRA
Old 03-29-2008, 03:47 PM   #6
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health insurance, COBRA

Sorry to hear about the job loss. I don't know about a broker in the Seattle area, but here is the link to the state's insurance info. It will identify what plans are available in her county and you can get the info on options and rates all online at the insurers websites.

http://www.insurance.wa.gov/publicat...e_Coverage.pdf

On page three it addresses who can qualify without taking the insurers questionaire, which may be important if there are any pre-existing conditions.

Good luck.
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Old 03-29-2008, 04:10 PM   #7
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My wife is leaving her job in Tacoma at the end of May (I'm self-employed) so we visited the broker that works with her employer, Albers (Albers Company Inc. – Employee Benefits and Financial Services).

I presume they have a Seattle office, the person we talked to seemed very knowledgeable.

It may be worth it for her to do COBRA (even if it requires help from family members for awhile)--in Washington State, if you use a COBRA, at the end of the 18 mos when you look for independent insurance, you don't have to fill out the health questionnaire and the insurance companies must take you at the appropriate cost for your age (i.e., they can't deny you or make you pay extra for pre-existing conditions).

We're certainly a bit nervous going on our own for all of this--glad it works this way in WA.
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Old 03-29-2008, 05:02 PM   #8
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I just read that companies with under 20 employees do not have to offer COBRA coverage. I think her previous employer has less than 20 employees so her being offered COBRA coverage is not a given.

If offered, she would have to exhaust the COBRA to be HIPAA eligible and not have to fill out and "pass" the SHQ (Standard Healthcare Questionaire). She will also be HIPAA eligible if COBRA is not offered because she has 24 months of creditable coverage.

The SHQ and how it is scored is on the wship.org website so she can tell immediately whether she (or family) will bust the 325 point limit and be denied coverage. That's pretty neat! No mystery about it at all.

Coverage may still be expensive but at least you know if you have to be offered coverage. I thought I read they can only base the price of the policy on your age once you are eligible for coverage.
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Old 04-05-2008, 05:01 PM   #9
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I just read that companies with under 20 employees do not have to offer COBRA coverage. I think her previous employer has less than 20 employees so her being offered COBRA coverage is not a given.

If offered, she would have to exhaust the COBRA to be HIPAA eligible and not have to fill out and "pass" the SHQ (Standard Healthcare Questionaire). She will also be HIPAA eligible if COBRA is not offered because she has 24 months of creditable coverage.

The SHQ and how it is scored is on the wship.org website so she can tell immediately whether she (or family) will bust the 325 point limit and be denied coverage. That's pretty neat! No mystery about it at all.

Coverage may still be expensive but at least you know if you have to be offered coverage. I thought I read they can only base the price of the policy on your age once you are eligible for coverage.

Anything she can do to avoid the underwriting process would be worth the $$$. It truly is HELL, from my experience. Also, you never can tell what might cause an insurance company to deny coverage or what kind of pre-existing condition they might not cover. That's why a good broker can help. They will prescreen you with various companies and save you tons of time and work.

But if she's going to be applying for her own insurance eventually then tell her to get copies of all health records for every member of the family going back ten years. Good luck to her!
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Old 04-05-2008, 06:26 PM   #10
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I thought I read they can only base the price of the policy on your age once you are eligible for coverage.
Buckeye,
That's correct for Washington state. While you might have to pass an underwriting screening (the SHQ), after that rates are based on age and benefit choices.

--Rita
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