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Help Mrs. Micah choose her health insurance

Frugal Zeitgeist and Raymond at Money Blue Book made good comments on my last entry

Raymond:

It’s really important to have health coverage…it’s the #1 cause of bankruptcy.

I do contract work so I have to provide my own health insurance. The best way to lower your premiums is to have a high deductible if you’re generally healthy.

Or you can vote for a candidate that advocates nationalized health insurance. Um..I’m not promoting a candidate..just throwing that out there!

FZ:

I have been struggling to find a way to word this that doesn’t sound preachy or dictatorial, but. . . you really need to have health insurance. I know it’s not cheap, but it’s a whole lot cheaper than dealing with a serious illness or injury. Your husband is probably required to have insurance as a student. Since you’re married, isn’t there a way to piggyback onto his policy?

So, my reason for not getting insurance? Well, the job I was going to have in just a month offered good insurance. I was unwise to let it slide in the interim, but I did have plans for becoming reinsured quickly.

However, now that’s not going to happen so I need to make new arrangements. I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of the chance until this week (and insurance will be another one of those expenses which my other jobs will have to cover or else I’ll have to start looking for new stuff).

So, does anyone have suggestions for a plan with a monthly pay under $125 or so with at least basic coverage. This way, if we get hospitalized or something we won’t get too deep into debt. Deductible at $10,000 or less.

Zip code: 20740 (not my real one but close enough to get comparable offers, I think)

Male: 27 (we’ll say 7/5/80), full time college student

Female: 22 (we’ll say 9/10/85), not student.

Both nonsmokers, neither obese or with diabetes, cancer, heart condition, HIV/AIDS, pregnancy, any of that.

I’m doing my own research as well (looking into options through Mr. Micah’s school), but would like to know what any helpful readers think. 🙂

I’ll get back to y’all on this. After all, there are 50+ readers and lots of other people who come by and will probably keep me accountable.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilary November 16, 2007 at 10:35 am

I just wanted to mention an option that most people haven’t heard of. Opening a Medical Savings Account (MSA) along with a high deductible health insurance. The medical savings account will help you cover the deductible should you need to but the high deductible will help you keep your monthly health insurance costs lower.

If the MSA is set up right, the money for that can go in pre-income tax so you can save money there too (you may have to work with an employer or an accountant on this aspect though.)

Money Blue Book November 16, 2007 at 11:35 am

I got my health insurance quoted by ehealthinsurance.com

I have a CareFirst plan…$49 a month with $5000 deductible and 20% co-pay. Total annual out-of pocket is capped at $6,000. $1 million lifetime.

I have what is known as a catastrophe insurance..to make sure I’m covered for disasters. But I’m almost always healthy so I rarely use my coverage
-Raymond

paidtwice November 16, 2007 at 5:29 pm

Awww look at the pretty blogher ads :). Glad you got your code finally 🙂

I don’t have anything to add about health insurance except I agree you should get some. It was so long ago I had to provide my own that my information would be hopelessly out of date.

Good luck!!!

Pamela November 16, 2007 at 10:41 pm

BlueCross BlueShield and Medica both have High-deductible health plans with health savings account options. In our area (upper Midwest), the BCBS one costs about $117/month for a 24 yo female. I think it’s similar for a male of a slightly higher age, though I don’t recall exactly.

Good luck finding some insurance! We still need to get some for hubby…

ms. m&p November 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm

Ugh. I hate the health insurance system in our country. But, since I can’t single-handedly overhaul the system, I can give you my recommendations. Also, if you have further questions, feel free to email me. I do know a bit about this stuff.

Anyway, like other commentors have written, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has some affordable plans for people without pre-existing conditions in their 20s. I had to buy individual insurance (ie, not with a group, like a company) when I was right out of college. I was in the DC area and found that the regional Care First plan was just fine. There’s a DC/MD/VA plan you could buy fairly cheaply–around $130/month–that would cover both of you and would take care of routine visits. High deductible plans (not the BCBS option) have really low monthly payments. The problem is that you pay a lot out of pocket before it kicks in–around $2,000 to $7,000. After that, it pays around 90% or so. It’s basically just catastrophic insurance. If you’re prepared to pay out of pocket for every doctor’s visit, this could be a decent option…not one I would take myself, though. Best of luck. I know it’s not easy to find the right plan.

FrugalBabe November 28, 2007 at 12:08 am

I’m a health insurance agent (although not licensed in your state) and I wanted to throw in my two cents. Individual health insurance (as opposed to group health insurance that you get through a job) is almost always medically underwritten. This is the case in MD, according to the web sites I checked. You have mentioned on several posts that you have some mental health issues that require medication. Many health insurance companies take this pretty seriously, especially if you’ve had any emergency room visits or hospitalizations. By all means, you should try to get a medically underwritten policy, as it will likely be more coverage for less money than a guaranteed issue policy. But you might find that you get offered a policy at a higher-than-standard price or that they offer you a policy with an exclusion on mental health treatment.
If that is the case, you can check into the Maryland Health Insurance Plan: http://www.marylandhealthinsuranceplan.net/mhip/html/HowtoEnroll.html
A lot of states, including MD, have a policy set up for people who need to buy their own insurance but aren’t able to get a medically underwritten policy – this is what the MHIP does. I looked at their rate sheet, and it looks like they have a policy you could get for $84/month – just for yourself – for a $2600 deductible policy. This policy is considered a high deductible health plan, and you would then qualify to set up an HSA, which was described in the first comment above (it was mentioned as an MSA, which is the old terminology, they’re now called Health Savings Accounts and have more flexible rules than the MSAs – there’s lots of info on the IRS website about them).

I don’t remember you mentioning anything about your husband having any pre-existing medical conditions, so he would probably qualify for an underwritten policy on his own.

I hope this helps, and I hope that you’re able to get insurance in place without too much trouble. A good broker licensed MD will be able to help, and you should not have to pay anything for their services – broker commissions for health insurance are almost always paid by the insurance company, and the rates they charge you are not any higher than people who didn’t use a broker. So ask lots of questions!!!

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