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Old 01-03-2011, 09:25 AM   #21
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Guys. I am new here. I have exactly the same concerns. Health insurance is one thing that scares the shizzle out of me. I have been a contractor for many years and last year I too a full time position as the yearly cost of insurance was topping 22k plus the fist 5k out of pocket for each of us. Wife 1child and myself.

I am Australian so if I hit my goals of having my nest egg row by 2015 and the health care changes don't fix this problem iwill have to head back to Australia where private top level coverage is only 345 a month. That is much more manageable. It is expensive to live in Australia but if I don't have to live near a city the costs go down significantly due to housing costs drop dramatically.

Secondly working in my favor is the housing bubble that currently hasn't popped but is showing signs of weakness since November 2010.

Now if the USD just gets back on strength I could even leave sooner.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:01 AM   #22
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I am in the same boat and would love to hear any suggestions people might have.

I will be going off COBRA this year and I too am scared of the what the med insurance is going to cost. When should I start looking? THe government subsidy expires in May. Cobra expires in August.

I didn't think my husband or I (both 55) had any pre-existing conditions but after reading some of these posts it sounds like we do.

We are in a big city in Missouri right now but would like to move where there are more outdoor recreationally activities. Are any states better for getting reasonably priced decent health insurance? We were thinking of the PNW.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:05 AM   #23
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I am in the same boat and would love to hear any suggestions people might have.

I will be going off COBRA this year and I too am scared of the what the med insurance is going to cost. When should I start looking? THe government subsidy expires in May. Cobra expires in August.

I didn't think my husband or I (both 55) had any pre-existing conditions but after reading some of these posts it sounds like we do.

We are in a big city in Missouri right now but would like to move where there are more outdoor recreationally activities. Are any states better for getting reasonably priced decent health insurance? We were thinking of the PNW.
You should start looking now. While you have a subsidy until May that will save you in the short term, waiting until then to buy could leave you with a lot higher expenses in the long term if your health changes between now and then making you uninsurable. You would then have to get on a HIPAA plan that would likely be very expensive (depends on your state rules). Your state's Blue Cross/Blue Shield company will probably have some of the lowest premiums, but coverage might not be portable to another state if you plan on moving. A company like United Health One would be portable as long as the state you're moving to is part of their coverage area. I think UHO currently sells in ~45 states, though Washington state might be one that they don't...

Try to find an independent broker in your state that knows the underwriting guidelines, state HIPAA rules, and portability of what's available in your state. Won't cost you a dime and could help put you in the right direction.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:37 AM   #24
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I went on COBRA when I retired. I know I have 16 months after COBRA runs out and before Medicare will kick in. I'm paying $475 for excellent coverage on COBRA (just for me).

I recently played with an insurance application on www.ehealthinsurance.com 800-977-8860. Someone called me that evening because I hadn't completed it and asked if I needed help. I told him my situation which includes cancer 15 years ago. He said I should exhaust COBRA (this has to do with HIPAA). Then I will be ineligible for group insurance.

About 2 months before COBRA runs out, I should apply for insurance on their site and that some companies were much more lenient than others in underwriting. He told me they weren't on commission, FWIW... The man who called seemed intelligent. He wasn't an underwriter - I asked.

I'm not trying to plug this site, but it was interesting info. I started the app. for one of the AARP Aetna plans on the site - he said Aetna happened to be fairly reasonable about underwriting. It was just a coincidence because I'm on the Aetna network now, that's why I chose that one.

The prices you see are not necessarily the prices you will get - they go up from there depending on your health history. I hope this helps.

You can also go straight to the AARP site for health insurance.

There's also a high-risk pool in my state, in which I will have guaranteed acceptance if I am refused other coverage. It's very expensive and has high deductibles but it would keep me from bankruptcy in case of a medical disaster. I budgeted a LOT for medical for those 16 months after COBRA.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:42 AM   #25
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I recently played with an insurance application on www.ehealthinsurance.com 800-977-8860. Someone called me that evening because I hadn't completed it and asked if I needed help. I told him my situation which includes cancer 15 years ago. He said I should exhaust COBRA (this has to do with HIPAA). Then I will be ineligible for group insurance.

About 2 months before COBRA runs out, I should apply for insurance on their site and that some companies were much more lenient than others in underwriting. He told me they weren't on commission, FWIW... The man who called seemed intelligent. He wasn't an underwriter - I asked.
Every agent is paid a commission...sounds like he's telling you he works in the call center and gets paid hourly, while eHealth takes the commission on the sale. Seems like reasonable advice though, so I'm guessing he won't be working at eHealth long when he figures out he can make more money on his own.

If you had cancer 15 years ago, you might still be able to get fully underwritten coverage instead of HIPAA. A HIPAA plan at age 63 is probably going to cost an arm and a leg, so you should still find an independent agent that can find out for you which companies may accept a history of cancer 15 years ago. United Health One, for instance, only asks about the last 10 years on the application.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:46 AM   #26
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We just went off cobra, went to a insurance broker. They get paid by the
insurance companies. They were very helpful and lowered our monthly
insurance $400.
Oregon only looks back 5 years for health issues.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:37 PM   #27
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Thar sounds about right. Uninsured eligible retirees (ones who didn't have work credits paid in toward Medicare) could buy in at $410/month for Part A hospital coverage (2007 rate schedule), and add Part B at the usual rate.

Group Health Cooperative has a pretty good HMO reputation, and has exchange agreements with Kaiser Permanente as I recall, which can very handy.
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Mexico.
Canada as well. No one there worries about health care in retirement (at any age).
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:47 PM   #28
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Canada as well. No one there worries about health care in retirement (at any age).
USAians are special. Those of us who fail to deliver a steady stream of labor for large employers until we reach the approved age are deemed unproductive and therefore disposable, unless sufficiently wealthy.

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Old 01-03-2011, 02:09 PM   #29
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Every agent is paid a commission...sounds like he's telling you he works in the call center and gets paid hourly, while eHealth takes the commission on the sale. Seems like reasonable advice though, so I'm guessing he won't be working at eHealth long when he figures out he can make more money on his own.

If you had cancer 15 years ago, you might still be able to get fully underwritten coverage instead of HIPAA. A HIPAA plan at age 63 is probably going to cost an arm and a leg, so you should still find an independent agent that can find out for you which companies may accept a history of cancer 15 years ago. United Health One, for instance, only asks about the last 10 years on the application.
Thanks for the input from someone in the biz - that's good to know. I know someone gets a commission - just that's what he said. I'm going to try for normal commercial insurance in the time frame indicated. I think there is something about pre-existing conditions that doesn't kick in if you were on group insurance without a break - can't remember. It might just be that the waiting period is eliminated. They can still deny me coverage.

No matter what it costs, it was worth it, to retire early. I am so glad, every day, that I am no longer working. My SO is getting tired of hearing me say that. He's self employed and not working much, intentionally, so it isn't like he resents that he leaves the house at 8 am and I get to eat bonbons all day... ... since he works from home.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:35 PM   #30
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In unrelated news, I am now exploring the possibility of establishing a personal investment corporation and software consulting firm, as a sole proprietership with both DW and I on the business license, or as a partnership with both DW and I on the Partnership Agreement. This will act as a pass-through for income from our various investments, along with all earned income. Naturally, this would require my attention at least half the time (20 hours/week), as well as DW's time (20 hours/week).

Coincidentally, if I have this up and running by February 15, I could qualify for guaranteed issue group coverage on April 1, when the Cal-COBRA coverage runs out. The rate would be between 90% and 110% of the standard rate, much better than the HIPAA rate of 170% of the standard rate. So that's a nice benefit...

Naturally the persons participating in the business must not derive a a significant portion of their income from other employment. This is also attested to on the SoleProprietor/Partner/Corporate Officer Statement Form. This rule exists to prohibit Californian's from creating a business in which they are not actively working in order to purchase guaranteed-issue small group coverage. This does not pertain to passive income, but to earnings income from employment.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:39 PM   #31
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In unrelated news, I am now exploring the possibility of establishing a personal investment corporation and software consulting firm, as a sole proprietership with both DW and I on the business license, or as a partnership with both DW and I on the Partnership Agreement. This will act as a pass-through for income from our various investments, along with all earned income. Naturally, this would require my attention at least half the time (20 hours/week), as well as DW's time (20 hours/week).

Coincidentally, if I have this up and running by February 15, I could qualify for guaranteed issue group coverage on April 1, when the Cal-COBRA coverage runs out. The rate would be between 90% and 110% of the standard rate, much better than the HIPAA rate of 170% of the standard rate. So that's a nice benefit...

Naturally the persons participating in the business must not derive a a significant portion of their income from other employment. This is also attested to on the SoleProprietor/Partner/Corporate Officer Statement Form. This rule exists to prohibit Californian's from creating a business in which they are not actively working in order to purchase guaranteed-issue small group coverage. This does not pertain to passive income, but to earnings income from employment.
I'm not sure what the laws in CA require, but generally you both would have to be working "full time" at 30+ hours per week for a group policy. CA always does things differently though.

Have you received a "preferred" rate quote for the group coverage? Depending on the rates in CA's individual market, 170% of an individual market premium might be less than 110% of a group market premium. I just got done shopping a case for a 64 year old woman/56 year old husband where the "preferred" rates for group coverage started at $1100/month for the cheapest HSA plans and went up from there.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:05 PM   #32
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I'm not sure what the laws in CA require, but generally you both would have to be working "full time" at 30+ hours per week for a group policy. CA always does things differently though.
I'm pretty sure I'm working full time at this. Certainly I don't ever go off to another job... :-)

I'm sure something will come along to mess this up. Getting 1/3 off just by forming a partnership and interpreting part of the revenue stream as salary and logging the hours spent in our business/lifestyle seems too easy. (It also points out how goofy medical insurance has gotten.)

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Originally Posted by dgoldenz View Post
Have you received a "preferred" rate quote for the group coverage? Depending on the rates in CA's individual market, 170% of an individual market premium might be less than 110% of a group market premium. I just got done shopping a case for a 64 year old woman/56 year old husband where the "preferred" rates for group coverage started at $1100/month for the cheapest HSA plans and went up from there.
Yup. The group market premium for us is just over 800/month for what we're looking at. The HIPAA rate for the nearest package is about 1300/month for 2011.

Oh, and I did finally find a broker willing to work with us without our buying whole life and an equity indexed annuity, too. Generous of him, actually, as selling KP healthcare coverage doesn't pay a whole lot.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:08 PM   #33
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I'm pretty sure I'm working full time at this. Certainly I don't ever go off to another job... :-)

I'm sure something will come along to mess this up. Getting 1/3 off just by forming a partnership and interpreting part of the revenue stream as salary and logging the hours spent in our business/lifestyle seems too easy. (It also points out how goofy medical insurance has gotten.)

Yup. The group market premium for us is just over 800/month for what we're looking at. The HIPAA rate for the nearest package is about 1300/month for 2011.

Oh, and I did finally find a broker willing to work with us without our buying whole life and an equity indexed annuity, too. Generous of him, actually, as selling KP healthcare coverage doesn't pay a whole lot.
I think KP doesn't even pay anything on individual and small group health in CA anymore, so he must be a generous guy! I don't work the CA market though, just vaguely remembering hearing things through the grapevine....in related CA health insurance news, Blue Shield is raising their rates for the third time in 6 months (October 1, January 1, March 1). That's some good PR waiting to happen.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #34
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I'm pretty sure I'm working full time at this. Certainly I don't ever go off to another job... :-)

I'm sure something will come along to mess this up. Getting 1/3 off just by forming a partnership and interpreting part of the revenue stream as salary and logging the hours spent in our business/lifestyle seems too easy. (It also points out how goofy medical insurance has gotten.)
Please keep us posted on this approach if you follow through. I had considered trying this a couple of years ago when I thought I would be downsized; but, my position was not eliminated. (I'm still trying to figure out which kind of luck that was.)
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:04 PM   #35
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Check out Walmart, they sell Healthinsurance oline and drug insurance for Medicare part D! It's worth a try.
Good luck.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:53 AM   #36
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I bought walmart-humana part D insurance and if you are looking for cheap drug coverage that is the cheapest. I bought that because I take no prescription drugs . but I still have to maintain the coverage or suffer a penalty if someday I need it. As far as cheap health insurance good luck with that. I would still like to hear more from people in canada, mexico, and other countries about the cost of health care.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:30 AM   #37
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Canada as well. No one there worries about health care in retirement (at any age).
No one worries about health care at ANY AGE in Canada.

After reading all the posts, I am glad I live in Canada, frankly ! It makes ER so affordable as we practically don't have to spare $15000 or $20,000 per year for medical insurance.

In Canada, healthcare is paid by the governments from tax dollars, the quote for top-up insurance is very manageable. I once tried a website that sells medical insurance to Canadian snowbirds, I recall the cost for me (no pre ex conditions) is ranging from $280 to $350 for 6 MONTHS traveling to the US. That's what I meant by "very manageable" or "affordable".

Then I tried to increase my age, the top-up costs go up to $500-$800 for 6 MONTHS.

So, I don't have to spare $15,000 or $17,000 or even $20,000 to ER.

Good luck to those who are looking for cheaper rates, hopefully you will find some affordable rates without breaking your bank accounts.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:39 AM   #38
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After reading all the posts, I am glad I live in Canada, frankly ! It makes ER so affordable as we practically don't have to spare $15000 or $20,000 per year for medical insurance.
Many of of us living south of the border really appreciate the restraint shown by our neighbors to north who have the opportunity to gloat but refrain from doing so lest they be considered rude.
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from today's L.A. Times
Old 01-06-2011, 09:05 AM   #39
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from today's L.A. Times

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals - latimes.com
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:27 PM   #40
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No one worries about health care at ANY AGE in Canada.

After reading all the posts, I am glad I live in Canada, frankly ! It makes ER so affordable as we practically don't have to spare $15000 or $20,000 per year for medical insurance.

In Canada, healthcare is paid by the governments from tax dollars, the quote for top-up insurance is very manageable. I once tried a website that sells medical insurance to Canadian snowbirds, I recall the cost for me (no pre ex conditions) is ranging from $280 to $350 for 6 MONTHS traveling to the US. That's what I meant by "very manageable" or "affordable".

Then I tried to increase my age, the top-up costs go up to $500-$800 for 6 MONTHS.

So, I don't have to spare $15,000 or $17,000 or even $20,000 to ER.

Good luck to those who are looking for cheaper rates, hopefully you will find some affordable rates without breaking your bank accounts.
This one made me ask an old Canadian co worker I had, so I asked him on Facebook, told me he used to pay something monthly years ago. Then they found a bunch of new oil and he's been paying nothing ever since. Said Canada is by province and he lives in Alberta. Told me to move on up there!
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