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If you have private health insurance (in the U.S.), are you changing providers?


Ginevra
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I don’t know what to do. I have Care First, which many know, is increasing a really horrible amount next year. And it is already expensive. There is not much we can do within Care First. We could go down to one level lower, making our family deductible $13k and individuals $6,500. But even this is a $400/month increase in premium.

 

I am very reluctant to change companies completely, but I may have to. I really need advice on this.

 

I know at least one member her is in a Health share. I may even consider that route if it makes sense. I need ideas. Hit me.

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I haven't done a comparison at this point.  We just moved to Medical Mutual about a year ago because our former insurance suddenly ceased to exist.  I'm reasonably happy with Medical Mutual so far.  I don't know what other realistic options we have.

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The individual insurance market is a big mess right now because of the political uncertainty in DC. My state imposed some big surcharge on all exchange plans in October for that reason. I can't say more about it without running afoul of forum rules.

 

At this point, if we ever lost employer-based coverage, we'd most likely put our special needs child on Medicaid as primary (right now it is secondary) and the rest of us on a healthshare ministry plan. A healthshare wouldn't take her but the rest of us should qualify.

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We were just switched to CareFirst because our insurance company was forced out of business. I had previously ignored health share plans, but we pay so much for what we don't even use, it's crazy how much we pay for health insurance. How in the world can it cost almost $20,000 a year for our entire family to go to the doctor less than 12 times (and we paid the full amount for each of the visits that were not routine on top of the premiums). 

I only had 24 hours to make a decision because it was a forced change, so we ended up going with the employer sponsored plan because there wasn't enough time to make a more detailed inquiry into the health share. But now that I have talked to the health share more, had all my questions answered, we plan to switch at the next open enrollment period next year. We simply pay way too much money for getting essentially nothing for it -- $20,000 for what feels like catastrophic coverage seems more than ridiculous. 

I don't know that you're going to really find a better traditional company. I looked at the Exchange and the costs was going to be the same there with small changes between CareFirst versus someone like Kaiser.  You could call a health insurance broker and see what options they have -- they're usually paid by the insurance company, so it's not really costing you to use them (at least that is my understanding). 

 

Edited by xixstar
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Yeah, I had a health insurance broker several years ago. I don’t know if that route makes sense to try again.

 

If I try to get info on-line (which is what I was just doing moments ago) My phone has literally rung three times and one text in the past four minutes. It is agents. This is madness...surely nobody gets health covereage by way of some internet vulture blowing up their phone? I don’t trust any of these people! But then my other options are: 1) sh!t on toast; or 2) a soufflé of sh!t with dipping biscuits.

 

I guess I will just die in the middle of the night and let someone else worry about this...

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My current plan for my family is a $1500+ premium. In 2018, that plan increases by $768 PER MONTH. Surely I cannot be the only person who finds this untenable. (I mean, I know I’m not...) If I downgrade to the only option left beneath my level, it will still increase by $400+ per month. And then my deductable is so high...

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Rather than use the Internet site that caused your phone to ring several times in several minutes, and people you don't know who they are or how honest they are, IMO if you contact one (1) Independent Insurance Salesperson who (hopefully) sells nothing but Health/Medical insurance and you give them the information on your family, they can (hopefully) provide you with an alternative that will either save you some money or provide better coverage or both. This Agent quite possibly also sells Life Insurance and Disability Income insurance.

 

You want someone like that, rather than someone who is tied to just one insurance company, such as your local State Farm agent.

 

The Exchanges, from people posting stories here, do not seem to be offering rock-bottom rates, unless someone qualifies for the subsidies and I don't recall anyone posting about subsidies recently.

 

Good luck/ I hope you find something better and hopefully at lower cost.

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I called each insurance company that provides medical insurance in our state and was shunted each time to the same hourly employees somewhere across the country.  I was told by the last guy that none of the local companies actually answer calls on their own about new policies but contract all of that out.  (Obviously that might be different for the insurance companies that operate in your state.)

 

And Patty, I was told that the choice I finally went with was the "least poisonous" by the insurance broker I talked to.  I had had the same insurance company but almost every year for the last five years I've had to change plans within the company as each time my particular plan was phased out. 

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Jean: Huh. We have the same carrier. I'm glad you were able to find coverage, but am sorry you had to. We are not being discontinued because we are grandfathered in as we never switched plans within the provider or to ACA (we have been with the company more than 10 years). We have the $10K deductible plan, which means, "Nobody better get sick around here!"

 

QUILL: I talked to a local health insurance broker about changing plans because our premiums went up a LOT this year and I was pretty ticked off. He (politely) laughed his head off. He said we have a screaming deal; that the lowest-cost insurance he could get us was a 175% of what we will pay in 2018. And yes, I know you pay more as you age, and have not factored that in... DH, Moi, DS (22).

 

2013: $440

2017: $760

2018: $880

2018 iIf we switched providers to the next-best deal: $1,440. A MONTH. The health insurance broker told me (politely) to quit moaning about a 15% increase; most plans are increasing between 25-35%.

 

We have *never* met our deductible. I told my dh that if either of us has a medical crisis between now and December 31, just put the person in the deep freeze until January 1. We can't deal with a $10K hit so close to the end of the year because we would undoubtedly in such a situation have another $10K hit in the coming year. (Obviously, kidding.)

 

Health insurance is *by far* our biggest line item expense. My dh goes on Medicare in August. Thankful for that.

This is part of why I think I am going to be stuck with sh!t on toast no matter what I do. This time last year, two other friends of mine were asking essentially the same question because their plans were hiking way up, but they were both over $2,000 a month, so I could only say, “Yeah, ours sucks too, but it’s not even as bad as that!†For some odd reason, our premium adjusted down slightly at the start of 2017. But they seem to be making up for that now. 😑

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Oh and I talked to two health shares. Both of them said that I would have to wait 36 months for any of my pre-existing but managed conditions and even then it would depend on not having any claims on those health concerns in those 36 months. Good for a really healthy person but not for me.

Geez. I cannot even like this post.

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I am so sorry everybody :( my heart hurts for what people are going through with Healthcare. My husband considered leaving his job and doing a biotech start up last year and I just about how a panic attack. While he would have made a bit more then he does now, we would have had to lose our insurance (which is amazing), lose his student loan forgiveness, and lose his super flexible work hours. The other two I could have lived with but not the Healthcare issue. We have ourselves, all kids and our two adult sons on that plan. I couldn't imagine what we would be paying. Our sons have insurance through their work and while affordable, it isn't great so I like them to have double insurance so they aren't stuck with costs if something were to happen. When the ACA passed I told my husband that now he could never leave his job because within a handful of years we wouldn't be able to afford insurance. I am glad he listened.

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Yeah health share is an option for us because we have no pre-existing conditions. The one caveat is that I have to lose weight to drop the add-on premium related to being overweight - that doesn't offend me and even if I don't lose weight, we still would pay less per month and actually get more coverage than we are now. It was actually many of the posts from this forum that got me to look at that option. I had previously written them off completely as not a real option, but now that the "real options" are approaching $2,000/month -- it doesn't feel like we have much other choice. 

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Yeah health share is an option for us because we have no pre-existing conditions. The one caveat is that I have to lose weight to drop the add-on premium related to being overweight - that doesn't offend me and even if I don't lose weight, we still would pay less per month and actually get more coverage than we are now. It was actually many of the posts from this forum that got me to look at that option. I had previously written them off completely as not a real option, but now that the "real options" are approaching $2,000/month -- it doesn't feel like we have much other choice.

Yeah. I don’t know quite where to start with looking into that.

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Yeah. I don’t know quite where to start with looking into that.

Just so you know, when I entered information for emailed information from one of them, I got a call from them ten minutes later. It took me by surprise and since I hadn’t really reviewed the information yet I felt a bit taken aback. The man who called was very nice though.

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The benefit provided by employer-based healthcare has a real bottom-line benefit to the employee's bottom line. When we were employed, we had fantastic health coverage. Something like a $500 deductible and no co-pays on anything. After I had my baby, I had the shivers and asked for another heated blanket. The nurse hesitated, and said, "You know, that is an expensive item and not all insurance covers it..." (which I appreciated!). I just said, "This is a (COMPANY NAME) baby!" And I had warm blankets as long as I wanted them! :0). They knew we had fantastic insurance.

 

The company estimated that benefits (health care and health insurance among others) were 50% of the salary of any given employee. So when you made $100,000 salary, the true package value was $150,000.

 

The thing is, to get insurance on my own that costs, oh, say, $20,000 a year, I would have to earn $28,000 to cover the taxes and come up with that much money. So it is a benefit even bigger than it looks like.

 

That company, and most others, offer nowhere near the coverage we got back in that day. But even so, if your family isn't having to shell out $20,000 (and therefore earn $20,000 plus the taxes on it), it is a wonderful benefit. But sometimes that is what we all a "golden handcuff." :0/

 

:0). Just musing. Not any real contribution here.

Nope, not musing....good stuff :) It is a great reminder because it makes my husband's job seem that much more spectacular since he gets paid well and gets great benefits on top of it. Not to mention he can say "I am not going to go in today, I prefer to write my paper from home today" which is awesome when I need some tag teaming efforts with the kids. I know though that the one thing that keeps him from starting a biotech is health insurance and employing people and having to pay for health insurance. It ends up not being lucrative at that point. I can only imagine small businesses cannot possibly stay in business with the continual increase in medical costs. Something has to give at some point.

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this sort of benefit is also part of the reason a lot of companies that would LIKE to do things like Job Sharing and so on, can't. 

 

That is a B.S. answer. Job share workers would be exempt from the health insurance mandate since they are working <30 hours each. Plus most of the people who would be looking for a job share position are married moms who would be on their husbands' policies anyways.

 

The reason that there aren't more job share positions available has to do with the bias that sr. management has about "face time" and that moms who want a PT position aren't "dedicated enough" to their careers. :cursing: :thumbdown:

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Similar situation here. Over $20,000 a year to cover 5 of us with $7.500 deductible per person. Earlier this year, went to the ER for a kidney stone, stayed there about 2 hours for pain killers and MRI and it cost us $6,000 out of pocket out of $10,000 bill. These costs are ridiculous. I think we probably would have paid less by saying we had no insurance and paying cash directly.  We're going to look into short term health care plans now. I looked at them last year and they seemed cheaper but they were just about to implement a new rule to cap the number of times you could renew the plan.  I believe they have or are considering getting rid of the cap so that might be viable.  Are there Christian Health care plans or equivalent plans that welcome non-Christians or agnostics or do they all require a statement of faith?

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In the situation I was in as a manager, both of the people who wanted the job share were there because they needed the insurance. Disability of spouse, single mom who had some alimony.

 

In my current situation, having friends who are in their 60s and who want to return to work, their husbands are retired (mine is), they don’t need the MONEY from nor do they have the energy for a full time job....but the insurance is a key. One of my friends has a husband with a good job but the health insurance benefit is only for him. Another young friend, her husband doesn’t have health insurance and works about 70 hours a week. Their three kids are on Medicaid health. She needs to work part-time, and they need health insurance.

 

It might be a certain amount of BS but part-time job seekers don’t always have a husband (or wife) who can get them health insurance. I used to be in a different world and didn’t know the one I I’m now existed.

No joke! I have been thinking about employment for a while because = money, but since the arrival of my premium increase notice, I am thinking about it daily because of insurance.

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In the situation I was in as a manager, both of the people who wanted the job share were there because they needed the insurance. Disability of spouse, single mom who had some alimony.

 

In my current situation, having friends who are in their 60s and who want to return to work, their husbands are retired (mine is), they don’t need the MONEY from nor do they have the energy for a full time job....but the insurance is a key. One of my friends has a husband with a good job but the health insurance benefit is only for him. Another young friend, her husband doesn’t have health insurance and works about 70 hours a week. Their three kids are on Medicaid health. She needs to work part-time, and they need health insurance.

 

It might be a certain amount of BS but part-time job seekers don’t always have a husband (or wife) who can get them health insurance. I used to be in a different world and didn’t know the one I I’m now existed.

Returning to work for insurance is going the way of the dodo bird. Even our local big employers (hospitals, global factory) are decreasing coverage. And insurance CEO’s are still raking in millions and politicians are still getting bought.

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Yeah. I don’t know quite where to start with looking into that.

There are basically 3 major Health Share ministries to compare, you can do searches here for personal commentary on each one for personal feedback. There are blog posts that compare the different Health Shares and then also check out the websites for each one to see what their requirements are, what they cover, and cost. 

 

http://www.medicalcostshare.com/comparison-of-major-healthcare-sharing-ministries.html

 

I actually found it very helpful to talk to one one of the representatives in person (well on the phone). I read the technical documents and felt I had a good understanding of their plans, but they were able to clarify some questions I had and I was also able to accurately describe my family's health care needs and ask what would happen if different situations happened: i.e., we got cancer, someone needed their appendix out, or basic care like broken bones or acute illness.

 

I also asked about the logistics of how bills are paid and what would get us kicked out of the health share.

 

I was initially very skeptical it could work for us but after talking with the company I selected I am fairly confident we will switch next year. 

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I am scared to see what our increase is for this year.  We always start the insurance year on Feb. 1st so we often don't know until December.  It jumped a lot last year, both for DH's company and for us, but the deductible doubled and everything went out of pocket 100% before deductible, including prescriptions.  

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because of the changing insurance in washington - providers are pulling out - I have to change this year. dh has said if we can work out a cash deal, we can keep my ND, and especially dudeling's ND.  we really don't need to see them much.    with my ND, for somethings, we can do that via email and that's about $15 a month for unlimited emails.

 

 

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Yeah health share is an option for us because we have no pre-existing conditions. The one caveat is that I have to lose weight to drop the add-on premium related to being overweight - that doesn't offend me and even if I don't lose weight, we still would pay less per month and actually get more coverage than we are now. It was actually many of the posts from this forum that got me to look at that option. I had previously written them off completely as not a real option, but now that the "real options" are approaching $2,000/month -- it doesn't feel like we have much other choice.

One of the things that worries me about the health share - and thank you for your link, BTW; I have been reading a lot today - but I’m concerned about how things pertain to grown or mostly-grown children. That is the age group that is most likely to have an “event†that arises from not-completely-kosher behavior on the grown kid’s part. So, while I would very much hope that my young adult kids would not get in a car accident because they were drunk, or fall down the stairs because they were high as a kite, or (insert wild behavior and health consequence here), I can’t, of course, guarantee their behavior will never fall outside the bounds of “sharable health expenses.†That possibility might be a deal-breaker for me. I’m thinking of a friend whose young adult was in a very significant car accident while under substance influence and that had to be many hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs.

 

I also have the issue of a DH who likes dangerous hobbies. So again - he has flown to shock trauma twice due to motorcycle accidents. If that was not a “shareable†expense, we would lose our house, I guess.

 

Can anyone answe to this issue? Grown kids or husbands who like to race fast things?

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One of the things that worries me about the health share - and thank you for your link, BTW; I have been reading a lot today - but I’m concerned about how things pertain to grown or mostly-grown children. That is the age group that is most likely to have an “event†that arises from not-completely-kosher behavior on the grown kid’s part. So, while I would very much hope that my young adult kids would not get in a car accident because they were drunk, or fall down the stairs because they were high as a kite, or (insert wild behavior and health consequence here), I can’t, of course, guarantee their behavior will never fall outside the bounds of “sharable health expenses.†That possibility might be a deal-breaker for me. I’m thinking of a friend whose young adult was in a very significant car accident while under substance influence and that had to be many hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs.

 

I also have the issue of a DH who likes dangerous hobbies. So again - he has flown to shock trauma twice due to motorcycle accidents. If that was not a “shareable†expense, we would lose our house, I guess.

 

Can anyone answe to this issue? Grown kids or husbands who like to race fast things?

Similarly, I’m not interested in funding a company that takes the view that those kinds of mistakes, as well as mental health issues, do not deserve coverage. While I realize insurance companies do horrible things, at least they never claim the moral high ground.

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I, on the other hand, am not interested in funding other people's kids' mistakes that could have been avoided. I am glad people have the choice, at least.

Sure, but as parents, we cannot be *certain* our kids will not do something we wish they did not do. I mean, I guess if you stare over them like a hawk at all times and put “safety-guards†on their bedroom doors, maybe, and then they are never out of your sight intil they are married off, then maybe. That is the sticking point for me.

 

If it was just health-sharing for myself - no problem. I don’t have health-affecting vices.

Edited by Quill
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I, on the other hand, am not interested in funding other people's kids' mistakes that could have been avoided. I am glad people have the choice, at least.

 

How do you feel about other people funding your kids mistakes that could have been avoided? Like accidents of every kind, or diseases that could have been avoided if they'd had a crystal ball?

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Similarly, I’m not interested in funding a company that takes the view that those kinds of mistakes, as well as mental health issues, do not deserve coverage. While I realize insurance companies do horrible things, at least they never claim the moral high ground.

 

It's a ministry, and therefore morality is going to be a part of what they do.

 

So long as it's voluntary to join, I don't have any problem with a ministry setting ground rules for what they will and won't help with.

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What a joke. Educate yourself on the history of the ACA, including all the shenanigans done to it in order to cause it to collapse. Or just go back and read the 1000 threads here about it, lol.

 

The history of ACA is not good.  Nobody in Congress (or their staffs) had read the bill in it's entirety, before voting on it. Nobody  considered the implementation or how it was actually going to work.  The failed launch of HealthCare.gov     The 2014 comments by Jonathan Gruber, recorded in different venues, didn't help.  Many people were deeply offended, when he said that it "only passed because of the stupidity of the American people".   However, one must give him a lot of credit, for being very honest, if not stating that with a kinder choice of words.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Gruber_(economist)

 

The Health/Medical insurance system in the USA had been subject to yearly rate increases, for many years. Many causes for that, including doctors needing to order unnecessary examinations to try to protect themselves from Malpractice Attorneys.  I personally know of at least 2 M.D.'s in the USA, who'd never had a Malpractice Claim or complaint filed against them, who retired early, because of huge increases in their annual Malpractice Insurance policy premiums.  There are probably thousands of doctors who retired early, because of increases in their Malpractice Insurance premium.  That was before ACA...

 

Before I emigrated from the USA, my Private, Individual, Health/Medical Insurance coverage was  going up about 10% each year.  The percentage increases I am seeing in the news recently, and here on WTM are so much higher than 10% that it is mind boggling.

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My costs quadrupled long before republican majorities or the president. Don’t kid yourself how many families were literally forced out of the market altogether.

 

Even with the ACA and a sick kid we still aren’t sure if we will have to pay out of pocket for this feeding pump we must have. The pediatrician just informed me it is $100 a day. Sigh.

 

And this is with pretty good private insurance.

 

 

This was happening well before ACA. Well before 2008. If your family managed to have good care and good insurance before then great. Not everyone did. 

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As always, I must mention that the ACA has been great for us in that we are now able to purchase insurance despite DH having a pre-existing condition. Prior to the ACA, we were forced to buy the insane policy offered by dh’s employer. And, no, the good Christian healthshares won’t take him.

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