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Old 02-02-2009, 08:07 AM   #21
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Why is this needed if Obama plans to follow through with his campaign promise to make affordable coverage available to all?
According to this Associated Press article:

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...the plan is a temporary lifeline, hasty measures for nearly desperate times.
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Old 02-02-2009, 08:45 AM   #22
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It seems to me they are taking the fast track to get the ball rolling. I guess the final plan will grow from this move. It appears the administration is learning heavily toward a medicare option as the basis for universal care. The have nothing to lose crowd will go to medicare as usual and if you pay taxes you get to keep your expensive coverage. Of course I'm just speculating, it all remains to be seen.
Steve

PS. I'm trying to be positive about any coverage changes made available, it could really make a big difference in my plans to retire early. I do turn 55 in march, so I'm looking for any kind of loop hole to slide through LOL. Although I'm sure the plans being made have little or nothing in mind for early retiree's. Its not like they are focused on helping us out early, but who knows we may accidentally benefit - I Hope
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:57 AM   #23
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I was reading an article about the stimulus bill, it appears to me it would not cover a person wanting to retire early. I found this wording in it: I tried to remove the picture but was unable. I say this jokingly, but I think I would have to do something to get fired to qualify for the coverage. I guess the actual wording in the bill could be different since this article is dated Jan. 23 2009.
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Lawmakers Consider Dramatic COBRA Expansion - Updated - Regulatory,Legislative and Tax Issues - Life and Health Insurance News
I don't see how this will help layoff victims of businesses too small to be required to offer Cobra. Or, victims of businesses that do offer Cobra but cease to exist a few years after the layoffs begins. Who'll provide the coverage for the laid off, 35 yr old employee who had 10+ yrs of service and wants the Cobra coverage until he/she qualifies for Medicare but the former employer ceases to exist?
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:30 PM   #24
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Go out to the seedy side of town and get yourselves some phoney id's, SS numbers, and get a shadow pedigree for medical treatment. This way if you get sick, go to the ER, present your "id" and get on medicaid.

Once on medicaid, then you are home free.

Think that is immoral, look at what Ball street did to us and now are settling us with some big time debt. May as well become part of the problem than the solution.

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Old 02-02-2009, 01:33 PM   #25
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Go out to the seedy side of town and get yourselves some phoney id's, SS numbers, and get a shadow pedigree for medical treatment. This way if you get sick, go to the ER, present your "id" and get on medicaid.

Once on medicaid, then you are home free.

Think that is immoral, look at what Ball street did to us and now are settling us with some big time debt. May as well become part of the problem than the solution.

jug
You probably are joshing, but you won't get medicaid that way. Eligibility standards are tough and you have to prove a bunch of stuff. Just being poor and sick isn't going to do it.

(Not to mention the federal crime for Medicaid fraud).

People will get treated in the ER for emergencies, but they still owe the money for the service.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:54 PM   #26
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COBRA is so expensive for people that extending it without a subsidy will not be very helpful. My COBRA for a family of two is now nearly $1200 a month.
Wouldn't this help in someways though?
You are right in that cobra is expensive but at least a person can get the coverage without being kicked out for past health problems. I also hope and think a retiree might not get as many monthly cost increases. Since the rates would be tied to the employers plan and not an individuals. I'm being told my state related AHIP plan would cost as much or maybe more than what you quote here and the odds of the rate being increased yearly are high.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:00 PM   #27
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It will help a small subset of people who are well enough off to pay 1200 a month. For us, we are fortunate to live in Minnesota so our risk pool will cost less than COBRA.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:47 PM   #28
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It will help a small subset of people who are well enough off to pay 1200 a month. For us, we are fortunate to live in Minnesota so our risk pool will cost less than COBRA.
Is it a required that you exhaust your COBRA coverage before you can move to the state risk pool there?
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:56 PM   #29
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Is it a required that you exhaust your COBRA coverage before you can move to the state risk pool there?
I believe under current law (Kennedy-Kassebaum), pretty much all state risk pools require exhausting COBRA. But I think we were talking about the proposed legislation which would effectively allow qualified people to keep COBRA indefinitely until they reach Medicare eligibility. In such a case you couldn't exhaust COBRA... and would that effectively change some of the state risk pools such that anyone who was eligible for COBRA until age 65 would never have the state risk pool as an option?
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:39 PM   #30
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COBRA is so expensive for people that extending it without a subsidy will not be very helpful. My COBRA for a family of two is now nearly $1200 a month.
1993, $720/mo for one(age49), layed off after 23 yrs - I told them where to stick their COBRA, I needed the 720 to live on.

12 yrs no insurance, an American passport, and a seriously bad attitude toward medical practices here.

Interestingly post Katrina - the rates in Kansas were much better than Louisiana - and I was 12 years older(63).

Go figure.

heh heh heh - BTW don't do what I did.
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Old 02-06-2009, 05:38 PM   #31
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Wouldn't this help in someways though?
You are right in that cobra is expensive but at least a person can get the coverage without being kicked out for past health problems. I also hope and think a retiree might not get as many monthly cost increases. Since the rates would be tied to the employers plan and not an individuals. I'm being told my state related AHIP plan would cost as much or maybe more than what you quote here and the odds of the rate being increased yearly are high.
Steve
I think you are largely correct, although I don't know of any individual health insurers that raise premiums on a monthly basis - typically it's yearly, but for some it may be more often (e.g. every 8 months). Individual coverage equivalent to COBRA will be more expensive. The advantage to an individual policy IF you can qualify for one, is that you will have more choices in terms of deductibles, copays, etc. If you are relatively healthy, you can save a lot in premiums by purchasing a policy with a high deductible. After all, it's the catastrophic coverage you really need. Virtually all ER's can afford to pay for the occasional trip to the doctor.

Risk pools or their equivalents tend to be very expensive (unless they are heavily subsidized by the state) since they cover those who can't qualify for individual insurance.
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Old 02-07-2009, 03:39 AM   #32
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In such a case you couldn't exhaust COBRA... and would that effectively change some of the state risk pools such that anyone who was eligible for COBRA until age 65 would never have the state risk pool as an option?
I'm like ziggy, I too wonder how this may change the cobra rules. The new legislation may strictly apply to people laid off or fired from their job. It may not help someone who voluntarily leaves their job, but I sure hope it does. At least it would give me more choices. I'll be 55 years old next month and I currently have way over the number of years on the job to qualify for the new plan as I understand it today. I ran the numbers on my state plan "AHIP", if I go with the highest deductible I could save a little money but not much. My state (Alabama) doesn't help out much at all compared to others, I've noticed. Looks like I'll still have a kid in college at my planned retirement date and it may be best for me to keep the better coverage like I now have with my employer. Anyway, insurance is my biggest obstacle for my early out/FIRE. Sure hope something in this mess somehow brings a big smile to my face. I plan to retire at the end of this year (DEC. 2009), been planning and waiting for 2009 for many many years now. PLEASE PLEASE work something out that helps me FIRE away !!!
Can you folks see the fire works and celebration I'm seeing in my imagination as I walk out the gate/door for the last time
I'm sure some of you can cause you've been there and done that and probably have the T-Shirt.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:16 AM   #33
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The subsidy covers 65% of the cost for 9-12 months. The employer pays the 65%, then recovers it as a credit when submitting withheld taxes.

The extension is available to workers over 55 OR who have 10 years with the employer, and lasts until age 65.
I noticed on one of the ticker tape things running on all the news channels that the plan that is to be voted on at the present time has lower the subsidy to 50% to get enough votes to pass it. I guess we have to stay tuned as this thing goes through its changes.
Steve
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:02 PM   #34
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Just ran across some info on the cobra extension:
Here's a small piece of it and a link. You can tell the part I like best but looks like it might be an up hill battle.
Steve
http://www.millerchevalier.com/files...205%202009.pdf

COBRA Extension
The second COBRA provision is much
more troubling for employers. It would
allow any employee (who terminates
employment for any reason) who is either
age 55 or has 10 years of service to remain
on COBRA until age 65. This means that
an employee who is age 55 and has worked
for one month, or an employee who is age
35 and has 10 years of service, could
remain on COBRA until age 65. Because
the majority of COBRA beneficiaries incur
claims that exceed their premium
contributions, the cost to employers of
such a provision could be significant.
The extension is currently included in the
House bill but not the Senate bill. We
understand that Senators Baucus (D-MT)
and Grassley (R-IA), the Chairman and
Ranking Member of the Senate Finance
Committee, both feel strongly that it
should not be included because it is not a
short-term stimulus provision. They think
it should be debated as part of the
comprehensive health reform discussion
that is expected to begin sometime this

year.
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:43 PM   #35
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As far as I can tell, the Senate deal lowers the subsidy to 50% but also lengthens it to 12 months. The Senate version doesn't include the extension provisions passed by the House. So it will just depend how the two are reconciled for final passage.

Since the COBRA extension involves no govt spending, I will be surprised if it is not in the final bill (along with all the reductions "won" by the 3 Senate republicans in the latest "compromise" since once it goes to reconciliation their votes are no longer needed).
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Old 02-09-2009, 03:51 PM   #36
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Since the COBRA extension involves no govt spending, I will be surprised if it is not in the final bill (along with all the reductions "won" by the 3 Senate republicans in the latest "compromise" since once it goes to reconciliation their votes are no longer needed).
Are you saying that the Senate can't filibuster a reconciled bill?
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:13 PM   #37
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Are you saying that the Senate can't filibuster a reconciled bill?
It's my understanding that the reconciled bill is just a majority vote but I could be wrong...
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:54 AM   #38
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The Senate just passed the bill.
Now if we can make it through the committee thinky, the next step. It will be in, I think.
This committee smooths out the differences between the House & Senate packages they each voted on.
Steve
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:46 PM   #39
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The Senate just passed the bill.
Now if we can make it through the committee thinky, the next step. It will be in, I think.
This committee smooths out the differences between the House & Senate packages they each voted on.
Steve
I guess I'm wondering who the "we" is, you seem to be cheerleading for.

I think helping folks temporarily unemployed pay their COBRA and continue their health insurance rather than drop it is good social policy and is beneficial to society in general. This is in the Senate plan.

However, I really don't see why a stimulus package should contain items to help folks retire early. Allowing RE folks to remain on COBRA until Medicare will likely raise the cost of these health plans for workers and the employers who provide them. IMO, this is part of the larger healthcare reform question, which as youbet pointed out in post #23, should also incorporate those who don't have access to COBRA.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:54 PM   #40
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I guess I'm wondering who the "we" is, you seem to be cheerleading for.

I think helping folks temporarily unemployed pay their COBRA and continue their health insurance rather than drop it is good social policy and is beneficial to society in general. This is in the Senate plan.

However, I really don't see why a stimulus package should contain items to help folks retire early. Allowing RE folks to remain on COBRA until Medicare will likely raise the cost of these health plans for workers and the employers who provide them. IMO, this is part of the larger healthcare reform question, which as youbet pointed out in post #23, should also incorporate those who don't have access to COBRA.
Agreed. This is going beyond the scope of just "getting people back to work" in the here and now, which is as much a crisis of consumer confidence as anything. Spending money doesn't do any good unless it encourages hypersavers to stop building their "financial bomb shelters" and start making a few discretionary purchases now and then.

I don't think extending COBRA for decades (and ensuring adverse selection for the employer group plans) does anything to create jobs, save existing jobs or convince people who have the money to spend that it's safer to do so because their job isn't in danger any more. In the end, that last piece is what needs to happen. No matter how much money you throw at this, as long as people continue to fear job loss nothing will change.

And the Dow is down 350 yet again.
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