Universal Healthcare would be really nice about now…
One of the benefits of my being laid off, we thought, would be COBRA, the lovely government program that allows you to continue to receive the same health insurance that you had while employed. Even better, as part of one of Obama’s stimulus bills, you can receive a 65% reduction in COBRA costs. ‘Awesome!’ I thought. ‘Where do I sign up?’
Then, the COBRA paperwork arrived… with a $909 per month price tag. $909 per month! That works out to approx $320 per month after the reduction (which, by the way, is only valid for 8 months). Um, thanks, but no thanks.
So, now we’re on the hunt for insurance for our trip. Both of us are really quite healthy (and we’re both the type to avoid doctors as much as possible anyway) and we’re prescription-free. Which means that we really just need coverage in case of broken bones or other emergency room adventures.
Since I’m really not thrilled about this development and having to hunt down some insurance, I’m hoping that someone out there who’s reading this right now will have a most brilliant suggestion for us. (Pretty please?) Obviously, we’ll be traveling, so the most important part is that we’re covered nation-wide (we’ll get to international coverage when we get closer to crossing the border).
Many many thanks in advance!!
Mike July 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm
Check out SOS International http://www.internationalsos.com/en/index.htm?CFID=24687459&CFTOKEN=51753792
I used them before when I was in South America. My cousin used to work for them in Australia and likes them. She was traveling and got bit by a rat in China. They mobilized her and got her to a civilized hospital within hours after the call. She was on a military plane to get her out. That was all covered and she also got reimbursement for her trip.
If you are healthly and within the states, I’d just look for a individual PPO and get a high deductible. Last year, my wife, baby and I had a Kaiser HMO plan and it was about $350 per month. It was a high deductible for us and full coverage for my daughter. I would think you can get catastrophic coverage for less than $200 a month.
mEGHAN July 9, 2009 at 9:56 pm
young healthy people can get high deductible ‘catastrophe insurance’ for fairly cheap. this type of thing wont cover doctors visits for sniffles. but if you suddenly find out you have some dread disease or get pregnant, you’re covered.
Piper July 10, 2009 at 7:19 am
check into adventure advocates (.com?) It’s basically catastrophic.. a good supplement to regular insurance for the not so healthy adventurers.. but with the money you save not paying for monthly insurance, being proactive in maintaining health with vitamins, supplements, and eating right on your travels.. this cat.insurance makes sense as a back up.
Ross July 10, 2009 at 8:13 am
In my recent IMBA newsletter they were touting a new ins program partnering with two benefit groups (Adventure Advocates and Nicholas Hill Group) that I thought was interesting and worth looking into. Never got around to it, but bookmarked it for future research. You might want to check it out.
Links: http://www.adventureadvocates.com/IMBA/ and http://www.nicholashillgroup.com/IMBA .
I’ll forward Russ the email I also got on the subject. Take care, Ross.
Joel July 10, 2009 at 9:19 am
Another vote for the catastrophic coverage. Your situation is where that sort of a plan really shines (and is what health “insurance” should be – speaking as a public health policy person).
Jeff July 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm
Be sure to read the ALL the fine print. Not all catastrophic insurance plans are created equal. I just saw a recent news report about a fellow who suffered a heart attack while “covered” by one of these plans. In the end it actually covered very little and left him 6 figures in debt.
Jeff July 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm
Oh – one more thing. You should look for a guaranteed renewability clause. An injury could leave you disabled and requiring long term medical care. Without such a clause the insurance company could simply walk away at the end of the contract.
This may be a reason to keep the COBRA for as long as you can. I *think* that if you become disabled while still covered you can continue to carry the insurance for as long as the disability lasts. That’s much better than any cheap catastrophic policy that would boot you at the end of the policy.
Jeff July 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm
Oops – I just checked. COBRA will allow for an extension of coverage for an additional 11 months provided you became disabled during the first 60 days of coverage. Booo!
Laura July 10, 2009 at 5:34 pm
Thanks Jeff. It’s a whole other world to wade through, and I’ve been online and on the phone with insurance people all day today. Your comment about renewability is exactly why I don’t want to just rest on travel insurance. I will definitely be happy when we get this all figured out.
Janet July 10, 2009 at 5:55 pm
I’ve been researching private health insurance for much the same reason you are and the go-to place to look for policies seems to be http://www.ehealthinsurance.com
You pick the parameters and they show you the policies offered by a large number of insurance companies, including a wide range of deductibles.
I haven’t actually asked for a quote yet because it seems that they don’t want to do it too far in advance (no more than 3 months) and I’m not quite ready for it yet.
An issue for me (and for you, too, I think) is that the policies seem to be offered according to the state you live in, and I will be giving up my apartment soon to go on an extended bike trip. I’m hoping it’s okay to use a family member’s address, even though they live in a different state from the one I have been living in.
I’ll be following your experience closely.
Laura July 11, 2009 at 10:27 am
Hey Janet – Yeah, I have looked at that site, and it does give you a lot of great options. Except that I’ve found that a lot of policies are only valid if you’re based in one location and don’t really do much moving around. I called HealthNet and was told that it wouldn’t work, because it’s not meant for someone who’s liable to be in a lot of various places from time to time (i.e. their “network” is California-only). So… I’m discovering that we really have to make double-sure that the policy will cover us no matter where we are. I’ve actually found one plan, through Assurant, that’s worldwide, you just have to pay a pretty penny per month. I’ll definitely put up a post when we get it all nailed down.
db July 14, 2009 at 7:32 am
Another possibility for travel insurance:
MishaPowerauto July 28, 2009 at 8:19 am
Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.
pathlesspedaled.com – cool!!!!
SergeyNikolaev July 29, 2009 at 11:10 pm
I like that you separate fate from destiny. There is something to be said for trying to account for the idea that we can sometimes fail to fulfill our destiny.
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You want Catastrophic Health Insurance with a high deductible. It will only ever kick in if you are in serious shape or chronically ill so you will hope to never use it. Monthly rates should be well under $100/month.