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View Poll Results: What is Your Health Insurance Choice for 2016
Medicaid - I'm on a medicaid eligible state and will use that 3 1.35%
Exchange - I'm getting a plan through the exchange 51 22.87%
Individual - I'm getting a plan directly through insurance company or broker 38 17.04%
Company - I'll be insured through w*rk or from a spouse, partner 87 39.01%
Medicare - I'm on medicare 29 13.00%
Fine me baby - I'll take the penalty 0 0%
Other 15 6.73%
Voters: 223. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-02-2015, 12:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
COBRA can last 18 months if willing to pay. In general, it's freaking expensive. Study your options then decide.
I've been on COBRA since March. I will continue COBRA through August and then either do an ACA or individual plan though a broker... unless someone has better ideas. (sorry, no VA or retiree health. The latter got cancelled when the tech bubble popped).
The ACA bronze plan I would likely take (same insurer as cobra) would be 64% more non-subsidized, have higher OOP & deductibles and much smaller network. So for me... I see COBRA is more cost effective.
note I plan to do roth rollovers.
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Old 11-02-2015, 01:18 PM   #22
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DW retiring in a week so we will be on the private market for 2016 for the first time. No subsidy expected.

We will be getting a high deductible, bronze HSA plan.

In MN we have 3 companies to choose from. Each of them have 2 different plans. One with limited clinics for a lower price or one with a broader set of doctors for around $40-70/mo more in premium.

Basically, we will be looking at anywhere from $10-21,000 in health insurance costs not including dental or vision.
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Old 11-02-2015, 03:06 PM   #23
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I have pre-medicare retiree group insurance through my last employer. It's an HMO through United Healthcare. The former employer pays a set dollar amount, depending on your years of employment, towards any one of their plans. This plan is accepted by Palo Alto Medical Foundation,one of the better large primary/multi-specialty groups. It's now part of Sutter Health. I like to think of it as Kaiser, with real doctors.
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:55 PM   #24
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What a strange trip it's been. Until April 2013, my last Megacorp covered us. I was laid off then, so for the rest of 2013 we had to rely on a short-term catastrophic policy to get us into 2014 when ACA would take effect. My wife's employer covered her for 2014 and beyond but I was on my own. For 2014 into part of 2015 I had an "Obamacare" policy but my (very) part time gig with the post office -- originally 3 hours a week, one day a week -- turned into a part-time "career" gig, whether I wanted it to or not, which included retirement and medical benefits so now I'm covered on my own FEHB plan. And we are negotiating with my wife's employer (she's a pastor) to see if it makes sense for them to stop paying the nearly $8000 a year to cover her, and instead give us the $3,500 as extra salary which is what it would cost us to cover her on my FEHB plan with similar benefits, after grossing up for self-employment taxes on the extra income. One of our members is a CPA who works with several churches and pastors so we want to run it past her first.

Seems like every year lately, we've had to work with church council to reevaluate medical benefits....

So yeah, I will definitely be on a FEHB plan in 2016 (trying to decide between about 4 of them), and DW may be as well, if we can be reimbursed one way or another for the extra cost of putting her on my plan.
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:09 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
COBRA can last 18 months if willing to pay. In general, it's freaking expensive. Study your options then decide.


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I pay full premium to buy insurance from my ex-employer, it is not COBRA and there is no time limit on it, it's a benefit that my ex-employer allows. As I have low income the state pays most of the premium, leaving me to pay $40/month.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:05 PM   #26
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I stayed at my jerb for 2 years after FI, just to become eligible for retiree insurance coverage. It as mostly for the guaranteed coverage (pre-ACA), since I had to cover a lot of the premium as a penalty for retiring so early. We're still on it, although I keep expecting Megacorp to dump us into the ACA pool. Still too young for Medicare.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:13 PM   #27
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Whats the difference between buying a plan on an exchange and buying a plan directly thru an insurance company?
How do you find a broker?
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Old 11-03-2015, 01:27 AM   #28
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Whats the difference between buying a plan on an exchange and buying a plan directly thru an insurance company? How do you find a broker?
The only real difference is who submits and updates the application, you or an agent.

If your income is low enough to qualify for premium subsidies, the plan must be purchased thru the exchange. A broker can submit your application thru the exchange for you. If you go directly to an insurance company's website to submit an application you will be redirected to the exchange if you indicate an income low enough for premium subsidies.

Even if you submitted the initial exchange application, a broker can make the annual income update on your behalf, so you don't accidentally cancel the policy as in this thread: Income Update Gone Bad

If your income does not qualify for a subsidy you can still purchase an exchange plan. However, you can also purchase off-exchange plans from a broker or insurer's website so this gives you more options. For a particular plan, the rates will be the same whether you use a broker or not. The commission and renewal residuals are already built into the premiums.

If you decide to use a broker, choose an independent. They can use a health insurance quote engine to get the best combination of rate and provider network, especially with off-exchange plans. The National Association of Health Underwriters allows you to search for a broker.

NAHU link: https://www.nahu.org/consumer/findagent2.cfm
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:16 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
COBRA can last 18 months if willing to pay. In general, it's freaking expensive. Study your options then decide.


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We're going on Cobra from DW's company (she's retiring December) and at $1345/month it's a bargain compared to comparable plans on the marketplace. We'll then have to choose an ACA plan beginning mid 2017 for 4 1/2 years until Medicare kicks in.


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Old 11-03-2015, 06:42 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Cobra9777 View Post
Just got my 2016 open enrollment package and the premium is unchanged for the third straight year.
My ex-employer premium went up 12.8% for 2016. In this sense, employer premiums are not dissimilar to Obamacare, the premium increases are varying widely.
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Old 11-03-2015, 08:01 AM   #31
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The only real difference is who submits and updates the application, you or an agent.

If your income is low enough to qualify for premium subsidies, the plan must be purchased thru the exchange. A broker can submit your application thru the exchange for you. If you go directly to an insurance company's website to submit an application you will be redirected to the exchange if you indicate an income low enough for premium subsidies.

Even if you submitted the initial exchange application, a broker can make the annual income update on your behalf, so you don't accidentally cancel the policy as in this thread: Income Update Gone Bad

If your income does not qualify for a subsidy you can still purchase an exchange plan. However, you can also purchase off-exchange plans from a broker or insurer's website so this gives you more options. For a particular plan, the rates will be the same whether you use a broker or not. The commission and renewal residuals are already built into the premiums.

If you decide to use a broker, choose an independent. They can use a health insurance quote engine to get the best combination of rate and provider network, especially with off-exchange plans. The National Association of Health Underwriters allows you to search for a broker.

NAHU link: https://www.nahu.org/consumer/findagent2.cfm
Thx a lot
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:20 AM   #32
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My ex-empl*yer subsidized HI increased around 7.7% from last year.
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Old 11-03-2015, 09:52 PM   #33
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We're going on Cobra from DW's company (she's retiring December) and at $1345/month it's a bargain compared to comparable plans on the marketplace. We'll then have to choose an ACA plan beginning mid 2017 for 4 1/2 years until Medicare kicks in.


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I am on COBRA for myself alone for $907/month which started in September. I looked at a BCBS multi-state plan and it was $1200+ a month (I'm moving some time in the near future.)

I will be on Medicare before the 18 months of COBRA are up. I should probably stick with my AETNA half PPO-half HMO type plan, which may have a different premium starting in January. I try not to use it.


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Old 11-04-2015, 05:11 AM   #34
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I currently have a PPO through the ACA, but in 2016 I may change over to an HMO due to price increases, to save on premiums. I know with an HMO I need a referral from my primary care physician to see a specialist. Can I request any specialist I like (in the HMO network, of course) and just ask my pcp to refer me to him/her? or do I have to accept the one my pcp wants to refer me to? I also noticed in the HMO documentation that the HMO must approve the referral also. I found all the specialists I want, by name, in the HMO's network directory, so that's good. Should I be concerned? I've heard people don't like HMO's because if the lack of choice. And what about getting your pcp to make multiple referrals for second or third opinions? Is that a problem?

note: I just found plenty of threads on this topic, which I will read, but I'll leave my post here.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:33 PM   #35
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I currently have a PPO through the ACA, but in 2016 I may change over to an HMO due to price increases, to save on premiums. I know with an HMO I need a referral from my primary care physician to see a specialist. Can I request any specialist I like (in the HMO network, of course) and just ask my pcp to refer me to him/her? or do I have to accept the one my pcp wants to refer me to? I also noticed in the HMO documentation that the HMO must approve the referral also. I found all the specialists I want, by name, in the HMO's network directory, so that's good. Should I be concerned? I've heard people don't like HMO's because if the lack of choice. And what about getting your pcp to make multiple referrals for second or third opinions? Is that a problem?

note: I just found plenty of threads on this topic, which I will read, but I'll leave my post here.
None of this should be a problem. It looks like the HMO has a very broad network of providers. Your PCP (primary care physician) shouldn't have a problem regarding a referral, especially, if you have an established relationship with a specialist(s) and they are in network. As for second or third opinions, the HMO plan can tell you what their policy is - call customer service.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:28 PM   #36
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I have MC part A & B and retiree supplemental BCBS that includes drugs. I also have dental through employer. Cost is less than Medigap but BCBS is not as good as the best Medigap.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:47 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by John Galt III View Post
I currently have a PPO through the ACA, but in 2016 I may change over to an HMO due to price increases, to save on premiums. I know with an HMO I need a referral from my primary care physician to see a specialist. Can I request any specialist I like (in the HMO network, of course) and just ask my pcp to refer me to him/her? or do I have to accept the one my pcp wants to refer me to? I also noticed in the HMO documentation that the HMO must approve the referral also. I found all the specialists I want, by name, in the HMO's network directory, so that's good. Should I be concerned? I've heard people don't like HMO's because if the lack of choice. And what about getting your pcp to make multiple referrals for second or third opinions? Is that a problem?
In our HMO (Kaiser Permanente) our PCP just gives a referral to some specialty, say Neurology, and we pick the facility and the specialist we want, then make the appointment. She never even gives us a name unless we ask her opinion. Knock on wood, we've never had a condition serious enough to need a second or third opinion, so I can't answer for that.
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Old 11-05-2015, 11:31 PM   #38
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Getting a policy through a private exchange so an individual policy. But, DH's former employer subsidizes the purchase.
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Old 11-06-2015, 02:50 PM   #39
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I'm a Medicare/Tricare guy. All that I seem to pay is the Medicare premium that is deducted each month from my SS.
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Old 11-06-2015, 03:07 PM   #40
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Retiree Healthcare for Myself and spouse. The rate jumped up 41% this year.
I'd be upset but $376 a month, for the 2 of us, for medical, dental and optical isn't to bad I guess.
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