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March 18, 2008 at 4:37 am #552
I have always randomly selected a short term health insurance plan when I got of the Ice for the last few years. Well, I look to be unemployed again (this time in the U.S., not traveling as usual). In the past I went with Assurant, who was fairly cheap, had international coverage, and could process your application online. Luckily I had no claims to submit, so I have no idea how they would have done if I had. So I am doing a little more research this time.
Knowing that most people who go to the Ice have this situation when they redeploy, does anyone out there know of a decent short term health plan?March 18, 2008 at 10:04 am #5168
Cobra cost Lorie and I over 600 dollars a month. We tried for a few months, but with no income it wasn’t practical. We just went insuranceless. Now that I’m older it’s not such a good gamble. She has a job with bennies so we are both covered through her work.
I think most policies are only marginally cheaper than Cobra, but I may be wrong.March 19, 2008 at 1:21 am #5169
I agree, the COBRA was way out of my budget. For just myself (30 y/o, healthy, no pre-existing conditions) I am finding premiums to be about $100-$200/mo, depending on deductible. I too have gone without insurance many times (largely because insurance seems to all but be a scam these days, since they weasel out of paying all the time), but I have decided now that it is too risky to go without.
I am guessing that most everyone who has purchased one of these short-term policies has been fortunate enough to not actually need to use it (like me), and thus have no idea how the company performs when it hits the preverbial fan. But hey, it’s still worth asking:)March 19, 2008 at 3:08 am #5170SciencetechKeymaster
For people starting an upcoming contract, RPSC is now offering a United Healthcare “core” plan in addition to the basic and premium plans. The core plan has a high deductible but also offers prescription coverage. The monthly payments are a lot less than the other plans, but the coverage is essentially the same as a catastrophic plan.
The UHC core plan was actually available in previous years but RPSC didn’t necessarily make that clear.
Given that the cost of COBRA has risen about 25% each year (with little or no salary increase to go with it) this is all I can afford these days — until I find a better plan for less, if any such thing is available. Really, most of my costs at home have stayed about the same (fuel is more but I don’t drive that much). What will eventually keep me from going back to the Ice, and force me to find a full time job, is the increasing cost of health care in the off season — and the fact that RPSC’s salaries have not kept pace.
…Sign me Mr. Dissatisfied…
glennMarch 19, 2008 at 5:30 am #5171
I agree. That’s the same thing that will likely make me eventually find full time work too – in Canada or New Zealand;)
-JamesMarch 19, 2008 at 7:13 am #5172Big VMember
I too, have purchased these temp assurant policies over the years and have never actually used them….until now. I had a fishhook-in-my-finger incident this summer that turns out cost $308.00 to remove (freaking ridiculous if you ask me, considering they used a pair of household pliers). That bill was submitted to the temp policy insurance company. I checked a few months later to see if i had a balance at the clinic and there wasn’t one so I thought all was good. I now have received a letter stating that Assurant has just started the process of investigating the claim–7 months after the actual incident.
I’ll keep you posted as to whether it actually get paid or not, I know I had it set up with 0 deductible….so i’m hopeful. And I’ll also be seeing if they’ll will actually let me renew after I get off-ice this year, even though I made a claim.
p.s. fyi, it was still worth the $308 bucks–i wouldn’t recommend yanking out fishhooks without novacaine 🙂March 19, 2008 at 5:38 pm #5173m0lochKeymaster
Get a job slacker!
Here’s my take on things…
The two things I do that put me most at risk are driving or working, I am covered during both of those (for injury anyhow). Also, I have an American Express platinum card…with it comes a medivac benefit, so if I am, for instance in Indonesia and get injured or sick and need to be medivaced back to the U.S. it’s covered.
While I work, I am obligated to provide health insurance for my kids. I don’t have to when I am unemployed…but since COBRA premium is based on the coverage you have while working, my COBRA premium would be $800ish dollars.
During my off-ice time in 2006 I developed a salivary gland infection. I was in Canada when I first sought treatment…because I didn’t have insurance, I was able to negotiate the price of an office visit down, also due to no insurance, the doctor told me outright that she wouldn’t burden me with the cost of lab work that would normally be done – she was very confident in her diagnosis. The antibiotics that she prescribed didn’t quite do the trick, I was still having problems when I got “home” in the U.S….I saw a GP, who wouldn’t touch it, he referred me to an ENT who diagnosed it as cancer, sent me to the hospital for biopsy and cat scan (oh, and in case he was wrong, prescribed another round of stronger antibiotics)..the infection cleared up shortly after starting the new antibiotics. Again, due to not being insured I was able to negotiate the price down significantly. The grand total for this entire ordeal came to around ~$3200…I paid the Canadian doctor cash on the spot, but I set up payment plans with the various entities in the U.S. They were exceptionally kind and understanding of my situation and let me set the monthly amount to pay them and it is all INTEREST FREE!!
eventually I got sick of writing $5 checks to these people every month, so I just paid it off. If I would have been covered with COBRA for this, I would have paid $4800 in premiums, had to first meet the deductible ($500 I think) and then paid the uncovered 20%. Hindsight tells me I made a sound decision to be without.
Ski or other travel injuries cause me a bit of concern and are the best reason I can come up with to be covered…especially in exotic locations….maybe travel insurance during those periods would be the best way to approach this.
My darling GF told me the other day that a friend of hers, who has no insurance, just incurred $30,000 worth of medical bills on some catastrophic illness. That would suck, but, there are still ways to deal with this. First, they’ll all accept payments. And if I’m ever diagnosed with anything terminal I’ll be damned if I’m paying and there’s always bankruptcy (you can keep your home in many states)
Anyhow, just some thoughts, probably not much helpMarch 19, 2008 at 9:38 pm #5174
For years I did the same thing. I always thought that most medical events would cost around 10 grand. Sadly, that is no longer true. Just for the PQ, I have to get a heart test done. It was 1000 dollars 4 years ago. It was 3200 last year. My last catscan was 1000, I imagine they are way up there now as well. Insuranceless in previous years I was able to pay less for tests. That didn’t happen last year. Nobody would budge. I think the costs for malpractice and expenses are going out the roof at their level as well. My guess is that a fall, accident, appenicitis, heart problems etc that put in a hospital for a night, would all start in the 30,000 dollar range.
The other thing is that while the emergency rooms will treat you if you don’t have coverage. They don’t have to treat you well.
MMarch 19, 2008 at 10:24 pm #5175SciencetechKeymaster
Perhaps the amount of coverage you need depends (in part) on how much you have to lose. One medical incident can potentially wipe out years’ of savings. If you have nothing, I can see that the medical establishment might be more willing to negotiate.
I agree with having evacuation insurance, especially if you’re traveling anywhere in the world. If you ever need to be medevac’d it can cost 10’s of thousands of dollars. It’s also been used to pay for evac’ing someone out of Antarctica in mid-winter (I believe the price tag for that was around $200K, and it probably wouldn’t have happened without the insurance). Coverage is cheap or free — I get mine with a Diver’s Alert Network membership ($29).March 20, 2008 at 12:58 am #5176
Thanks for all the responses! All good thoughts and considerations.
I agree with the medevac thing. Having worked the last year doing flight medevac, I have grown to appreciate how much that would cost! (They usually start at $14,000 for a “cheap” one, and routinely go upwards of $50,000 and beyond.) I too have the DAN insurance. While being a dive insurance, it also covers medevacs and even a one-time non-dive related medical. All this as long as you are 50 miles from your declared home (I use my parents house, which I only visit 2 or 3 times a year). They are also a non-profit, and the money goes to dive accident/illness research. They are only $100/yr, and that is for their fancy coverage.
I usually try to get my medical bumps & bruises, coughs & colds taken care of curbside, but I am not always in the company of medical friends. I agree that the main reason I am getting insurance is for “catastophic” injury/illness. I know that just one night in an ICU will run you up to $10,000 or more, and that’s just for the room – not the meds, procedures, docs, etc. So, I am likley going to get a high deductible plan, just for the big and ugly.
And yes, sadly, I will be getting a job at the end of the summer while I am establishing residency in MT so I can go back to school. I should be able to use my work insurance then, as well as the U’s insurance once I go back full time.
But in the meantime, I hope to pick one of the temp companies that I can afford, and will hopefully actually keep their side of the promise if somethings does happen.
Has anyone heard of “Celtic” insurnace company? They have the best rates when I shop, but they are unfamiliar to me.
Anyone know of other non-profit health insurance companies worth looking into?
I am curious how your claim, and attempt to re-insure, turn out Velvet.
-JamesMarch 30, 2008 at 5:15 am #5177AntarcticChongMember
You should look into more non conventional insurance. I buy lots of coverage for injury or illness that require hospitalization . I pay about 7.50 per 10,000 of coverage and it is paid to me and then I can negotiate payment(like the big insurance companies do) and whats left goes in my pocket (other expenses like transportation and lost wages) You pay for quick visits to the doctor yourself and remember allways ask for the cash rate when paying by cash or credit card. You can easily save 50 %. The company I use is called United American Insurance Company a sister company of Globe Life that has been here in Oklahoma for many years.March 30, 2008 at 5:22 am #5178AntarcticChongMember
By the way thats $7.50 per $10,000.00 US per month. Didn’t want to mislead anyone.March 30, 2008 at 9:34 pm #5179
I can say that when I was uninsured and doing the PQ process I was able to shop around for services. I got the Cat scan down from 3000 dollars to 900 and the heart test reduced by 25 percent.
The problem is that I had time. In an emergency or if sick, you don’t have as much choice to walk away and try someplace else.
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