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Old 01-17-2009, 11:25 AM
 
1,915 posts, read 4,606,525 times
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I would like to retire at age 62 but need to buy an individual health ins policy until Medicare at age 65. The various state health insurance risk pools or individual policies that do not use underwriting (guaranteed acceptance) in many states are incredibly expensive (Maine is about $1000/mo; MN is about $700/mo, etc). Risk pools are the only option for people with pre-existing conditions. While I don't have any major diseases, most individual policies exclude a 60 year old woman with a "normal" health history of minor issues. (Most private companies only want to cherry pick and insure healthy 25 year olds. Most of the look back periods are 10 years...) At any rate, does anyone know which states have good individual health insurance options with guaranteed acceptance until Medicare kicks in? Does anyone know of a website that compares the state risk pools?
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:14 AM
 
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I am just curious, how did you shop for rates for your health coverage? Did you use an insurance broker or just look online? What kind of policies did you look into? I know in MN to get into the state pool policy you have to be denied from a regular carrier. If you have a good health history for someone your age you will probably be accepted by a regular carrier.
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:33 PM
 
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The problem is that even with a "good" health history, at age 60, I have had normal medical issues associated with aging, etc, that would disqualify me from regular policies. There are very few 60 year old women who would qualify for any of the regular individual policies. Plus you have to come up with your entire health history for the last 10 years in most cases, which is ludicrous. Who can remember all that stuff you may have seen a doc for 9-10 years ago? Worse yet, if you forget to put something on the application (like a bladder infection 10 years ago, for example), they can deny coverage for the big stuff like cancer later on.

These insurance companies may even accept you up front even with a relatively good health history, and then if you have a big claim later on, they mine your medical records to find any error you may have made on your application, even something very minor (like forgetting about that bladder infection 10 years ago), and use that as a way to deny your claim later.

Their goal is not to pay benefits and to only insure healthy young people. I've read that they even intentionally make the applications confusing so you may not answer the questions correctly,thus creating an error, which will be used against you in a claim. It's criminal, but legal. I subscribe to AARP and their bi-monthly newsletter and magazine is full of egregious kinds of acts legally committed by private health insurance companies. Some of course are being sued, but this behavior on their part is legal. 60 Minutes has done pieces on how these health insurance companies hire hundreds of workers to mine the medical records of insureds and look for errors in their applications so they can deny large claims later on.

I also read several books about private health insurance and one thing to be avoided is to fill out an application with all the details of your health history and then be denied coverage. By filling it out, you are automatically put into a national database, which can be accessed by any other insurance company in the country. So your entire health history for the last 10 years, which may include inaccuracies as you are working from memory, is now available to any other insurance company you may apply to, and the fact you were denied will follow you if you move to another state. Not a good situation. It is much better to go with a guaranteed issue policy which by law cannot ask you any health questions.

To answer your question about my info about rates, most was from online searches.
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Florida
66 posts, read 142,881 times
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xz2y, Pennsylvania has Guaranteed Issue policies from Blue Cross and from Blue Shield. (they are separate companies here now). They are statutorily required to be offered by these companies, for reasons I do not know. Probably because they get grants or something from the state.

One is income based with limited benefits. It is still good for basics and wonderful catastrophic coverage. The other costs more, but has more benefits. I do not know how long you must be a resident to be covered. They do ask if you have ever been denied coverage. I do not know how that factors in. In any case, the premiums are LOW
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Florida
66 posts, read 142,881 times
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Oh....both Blue Cross and Blue Shield each have separate divisions in distinct geographical regions.

In other words, if you think of moving to PA, be sure to check out the regions covered by which carriers. I hope I said that clearly. For example, there is Independence Blue Cross, Capitol Blue Cross, etc., as well as Highmark Blue Shield and so forth. One covers central PA, one covers southeastern PA, one covers western PA. And if that is not confusing enough, there is a Blue Cross and a Blue Shield for each region. Just figure out where you might want to be, and then find the appropriate Blue for that area. If you need more information, just ask.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 44,642,603 times
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What Wondering has said about Blue Cross and all it's affiliates is correct. A few Blue Crosses are ok but others just plain suck. And I mean suck real real bad. There is no such thing as cheap insurance. Especially at your age. I am a cancer surviver. I am uninsurable at any price. I am ineligable to purchase health insurance in America. Nice system we have here huh.

So I had to get married to obtain insurance from my spouse because by law no employer can deny an employee or an employee's spouse health benefits based on past history.

That being said...I researched a bit what your looking to do for us. We wish to hit the road in our RV full time but cant because she has to remain in a stationary store to get the insurance. So we can not hit the road till we are 65. Or move to Canada.

Sorry I have no advice on your search. Maybe because there is no advice unless you hit the lottery. The heath care sucks real real bad in this country and I am mad as hell about it.

I do wish you much luck................
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Old 01-21-2009, 06:14 AM
 
265 posts, read 782,518 times
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I retired at 55 without health insurance and some health issues which made me uninsurable. Here in Illinois there is a high risk insurance pool state wide run by Blue Cross Blue Shield. I was fortunate to get health coverage, but it was expensive. Shortly after I got in the pool was closed to new people. Don't know the current situation here.

Note I am now 67 so on Medicare. I think most every state has these high risk pools subsidized to some extent by the state and run by private insurers. You can goggle to run down the details. I had checked out Colorado and they also had such a pool. Am now no longer current on the status of these pools, but I'm sure that some most likely are still out there.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Florida
66 posts, read 142,881 times
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Ohhhh, I meant to be encouraging. I think Guaranteed Issue means just that, guaranteed to be issued. When I said the premiums are low, I mean LOW. I do not want to cause a rush on PA's insurance carriers, but if you are interested, do yourself a favor and call a couple of the ones I mentioned. I know how it feels with pre-existing conditions....cancer survivor myself and a couple other things. And I have insurance I can afford with a teeny income. I do not have Medicare, I am under 60.
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:54 AM
 
Location: So. Dak.
13,495 posts, read 34,060,708 times
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Such an informative thread!!!! Sorry to hear that there are others who aren't considered to be insurable, but cheers to the cancer survivors.

Just wanted to add~you can cross my state off your list. We do have a state insurance pool and we know someone who is in it. We haven't asked lately, but about 5 years ago his premium was close to 1,000 per month. I'd hate to know what it is now.
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 44,642,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammie View Post
Such an informative thread!!!! Sorry to hear that there are others who aren't considered to be insurable, but cheers to the cancer survivors.

Just wanted to add~you can cross my state off your list. We do have a state insurance pool and we know someone who is in it. We haven't asked lately, but about 5 years ago his premium was close to 1,000 per month. I'd hate to know what it is now.
YIKES !!! A thousand a month??? If you dont have any major pre-exising problems I suspect one can find insurance on the open market for less then that.

I say that because when I was applying about 6 years ago I lied on my application just to see what the rate would be. Without cancer in my backround I could have found insurance for $800/M but like you said Jammie, that was years ago. I wonder what it is now???

Right now in the Houston Forum there is this young guy who has a job he loves but no heath insurance. He is in some medical trouble right now and has come on this forum to ask for help. What kind of country is this when we get sick and can not afford to go to a doctor? It's dispicable !!!!! We are the laughing stock of the world.
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