Health Insurance

Independents, students, people who own a business, people who are independently wealthy and therefore need not work, people who freelance, people who contract, how do you pay for and what do you use for health insurance.

I priced health insurance with Blue Cross on Thursday and nearly fell off my chair. The woman actually said to me, “Are you still there? Most people hang up when I say that.”

I now totally understand why there are so many people in this great nation without healthcare. We have healthcare currently, so it’s not a rush, necessarily, but I am curious. Any insightful information would be great because paying 1,015.00 a month on health insurance is totally unfathomable.

P.S. If you’re terrified to leave comments for some reason, you can email me as well. (michele at this domain dot com.)

12 Comments

  1. There are a number of professional organizations and groups that offer group insurance rates for health care coverage. When I was self-employed and my wife didn’t have coverage, I got health insurance through the Chamber of Commerce of my city (Amherst, NY). That was significantly better than “buying direct” from Blue Cross/Blue Shield. You might also check out this site. One final option (which may not be too late), but if you HAD health insurance through Toby’s previous job you’re still eligible to pay for it through COBRA (people qualify for COBRA for 18 months). Of course you’ll be off network probably if your coverage is in CA and you need care in NY, but you should have SOMETHING in case of an accident.

    My wife’s employer covers very little of the health insurance (equivalent to 80% of an individual). I think our group cost is in the area of $600+/month for a family plan, but that’s in Western NY state.

    Do you belong to any professional organizations? A cursory review of AIGA’s site shows that they offer group insurance rates, too. Hope this helps!

    Reply

  2. How long does one have to be at a place before qualifying for Cobra? I think the AIGA is an excellent option and I will look into that. Otherwise, the woman I spoke to gave us three options: 1). Hospital Only. It’s 150 a month and it covers any emergencies. 2). The big one, the on everyone uses HMO/PPO = 1,015.00 a month. (This the one where she said most hang up after hearing) 3). If we can prove that together we make only 31,000 a year, then we qualify for the 350 a month option.
    My question is this: is there no in between? Does on either need to be dirt poor or totally stinking rich to afford health insurance independently? How did it get to be this way? Most absurd, I have to say. It makes life a little harder, not better. :/

    Reply

  3. Group rates are much lower. My opinion of health insurance companies is right up there with landlords and staffing companies. Purchasing health insurance directly from a provider is like paying an airline’s full business fare for a plane ticket: it’s far more expensive than most people really pay. As for COBRA, I don’t believe you have to be there very long to qualify. A call to Toby’s previous HR person can certainly clarify.

    Reply

  4. Yeah, I’m growing to despise them, too. It’s funny, how hard they make it for small business folks to pay for their own insurance. And this is the bitter, uneducated me speaking, but it seems that EVERYTHING in the U.S. is leaning more and more towards big business. I get frustrated. Easily. With this. Yes. Yeesh.
    Oh, and we didn’t have health insurance with his previous employer. We have it through his current one.

    Reply

  5. Can’t he get family coverage then? If his employer won’t pay for a family plan, they will usually deduct the cost from his paycheck (before taxes). This is a pretty common thing.

    Reply

  6. duh … I think I just figured out what is going on. Sorry I’m so dense.

    Reply

  7. You ain’t dense, brother. You is mad fine and undense.

    Reply

  8. I’d say a local Chamber of Commerce might be a good bet. At least, it usually is here in Canada – I don’t know enough about the US health system to say for sure. In some cities here, though, membership in the Chamber actually entitles you to your health insurance no questions/payments asked. But of course, we also have free health care, which rocks.

    The chamber also gives you other good benefits, like exposure and free listings in city publications, etc.

    Good luck! Let us all know what you figure out.

    Reply

  9. both of my parents work for people who cant afford to give their staff health insurance, so neither of them have anything at all. something that foreshadows not such good things for the future.

    the ONLY perk to working where I work, is that my health is 100% paid for. So when I broke my leg, they were like “do you want drugs and anethesia?”, and I was like “YES! Give me everything you possibly can!!”

    But as a freelancer, that would be impossible for me. I’d have to marry a sugar daddy.

    Reply

  10. Don’t you find this totally and completely disturbing? I do. Say I wanted to have a baby, it’s impossible to do without excellent coverage. How do people take care of this crap? Is that why lawsuits are so insane? I am in the dark about much of this. And the more and more I seem to find out, the darker it gets. :[

    Reply

  11. Holy SHIT! I had no idea it was that expensive…guess they need it to pay all of the lawyers who are suing them for whatever reason. Mihow if you are a member of a professional society you may want to check in with them (not sure what the graphic design professional society is or I would have looked it up). Also I have heard the association that represents the self employed has offered insurance in the past.

    Man, I will count my blessings tonight…maybe it really is time for universal healthcare.

    As for the lawsuits question…I think looking for an OBGYN in West Virginia will show you that them pesky trial lawyers are the issue…no doctor wants to work in areas with high lawsuit costs (WV, TX etc.)

    Reply

  12. Although it’s popular to blame trial lawyers for the high rates, the actual problem lies with the giant insurance companies who set the rates. Even if legislation was passed to limit lawsuits, there’s no guarantee that would cause the insurance carriers to lower their rates. They make incredibly high profit margins on health insurance since the public believes it’s somehow justified. To me, the government should limit the ability for the carriers to profit while reducing the fees that lawyers can receive during a trial.

    Ultimately though, the whole system sucks and universal basic health care seems to be really the only option.

    Reply

Leave a Reply