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Old 05-16-2008, 04:36 AM
 
10 posts, read 16,144 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi,

My wife and I will be moving from the U.K to L.A this June.
I'd much appreciate your help with the following questions:


Health Insurance

The UK has a NHS service where you get free healthcare (but your taxes pay for it so not really free). I guess I need to get health insurance as soon as I have a permanent address ? Any tips ?

Personal posession insurance
My personal posessions were covered by a home contents insurance and I also have Travel insurance. As I will no longer have my UK home that insurance will be invalid and my travel insurance says that since we are relocating they can only cover me for 17 days from departure

Any help with the above is much appreciated

Thanks,

Tim
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:31 AM
 
1,714 posts, read 5,541,807 times
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Hi Tim,

If you are moving to the US for work, I am guessing that you will have a job good enough that it comes with health insurance (or else why move so far?). Most health insurance in this country is tied to a job as part of the benefits package. If your job doesn't include health insurance, or if you are coming as a student, I'm not sure what to tell you. There is such a thing as a health insurance policy for an individual/family, and you have to sort of call around.

The renter's insurance is easier to answer. Contact an insurance agency in your area (there will be many; call several and get price quotes) as soon as you can and get a policy. It is very affordable and easy, and well-worth having.

Welcome to the States!
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Old 05-16-2008, 07:50 AM
 
10 posts, read 16,144 times
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Hi,

Thanks for your reply

I'm an I.T contractor here in the UK and am hoping to do something similar in the States. As a contractor I get paid by the day or hour but don't get any perks that a permanent employee would.

I don't have a job lined up but have a decent amount of cash from a house sale so will wait for the right job. If it's a permanent job then the health insurance will hopefully be part of the package (as you stated) and otherwise I will have to sort this out myself.

I guess I get a policy as soon as I arrive, making sure I can cancel it without any penalties.

Thanks,
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:21 AM
 
Location: SoCal
14,527 posts, read 16,116,085 times
Reputation: 10450
You do know that you do not have the legal right to work in the US on a tourist visa, right?

For health insurance, you have to either buy your own or have it included as part of your employment package. As a contractor it depends on whether you are direct to your customer or going through an agency. Some agencies supply health insurance as part of your package. If you go direct you're in the same boat as me (consultant, contractor, direct to client) and I buy my own through Blue Cross. The only good news is that it's income tax deductible.

As far as personal possessions, either your renters or homeowners insurance should cover that. My understanding is that cancellations before end of term usually have a service fee for early termination, but that most of the unused part is refunded. YMMV
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:36 AM
 
10 posts, read 16,144 times
Reputation: 10
Hi,

The visa thing is cool because I have a US passport

My mum and dad got divorced when I was very young and we then moved to the UK. I have completed a i-130 visa application for my wife and it came through a month ago.

Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely take a look at Blue Cross.

If you have any advice you can give me on contracting in the USA that would be most welcome (pm me). I know how it all work sin the UK (am 38 years old and have contracted for 14 years) but the States slat on it is a mystery to me ...

Thanks !

Tim
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:46 AM
 
Location: SoCal
14,527 posts, read 16,116,085 times
Reputation: 10450
Oh yeah, okay, you have US citizenship so no problem. I just assumed...

I'm not recommending Blue Cross, it's just what I have. They are sucking me dry, but probably all the health insurers do the same. Insurance is very expensive and in fact insurance is one of the big benefits of being an employee compared to contracting.

As far as contracting, I don't know much about it. I prefer to call myself "consultant" which indicates that I am my own contracting company and go direct to my clients without any middlemen. Contract houses (and "head hunters") take a cut, often 10-20 percent I hear, but some do provide marginal benefits including health insurance, 401k (retirement plan), vacation and sick leave. Why don't you google on it a bit and if you can't find any places get back to me and I'll ask my friend who used to contract which outfit he went through. I suggest you check out careerbuilder.com and monster.com where some of the jobs are contract, others are head hunters.

It might be an interesting discussion if you say why you would rather contract than be an employee. For me the benefit is that I get twice as much pay as employees doing the same job. The liability is that I have to provide all my own benefits and are often out of work half the time looking for more work. The 2x and 0.5x cancel out so I make about the same income year in year out as direct employees. In fact I just decided after almost 20 years of consulting to appeal to my best customer and ask them if they'd like to hire me as a direct employee. I'm tired of hunting for work even though the rewards are great.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:08 AM
 
10 posts, read 16,144 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks !

I'll have a look at Blue Cross and compare against 2 or 3 others ones to find the one that suits me best.

I prefer to act as a contractor/consultant for the similar reasons as yourself.

- Pay is approximately double that of permanent jobs
- I don't have top play the corporate ladder game and get involved in office politics
- I have more freedom of choice of where to work
- I get bored easily
- More tax efficient (at least in the UK)

I have been contracting for 14 years and only had 6 weeks in total out of work (i.e. not planned holidays). Hopefully can keep it going ..... there seem to be lots of I.T jobs around.

UK agencies also take between 10-20% comission so sounds like a similar deal.
I'll research some of the bigger agencies and maybe have a chat over the next few weeks with some of them. Any advice/input from you or friends is most welcome.

It took me years here in the UK to fully understand how contracting works and what my responsibilities were.

Thanks again
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Old 05-16-2008, 12:15 PM
 
Location: SoCal
14,527 posts, read 16,116,085 times
Reputation: 10450
Yeah, you're welcome Hubbardt. My experience is pretty much in line with your experience, close enough that if you didn't mention UK I wouldn't know you weren't talking about the US. My specialty is embedded microcontroller hardware and software, but consulting/contracting is pretty much the same in any technical field as far as I know. As you contract see if you can develop consulting customers and cut out that 10-20% agency commission. I don't like splitting my wages with anybody!!! (Too bad we can't cut out the tax man.)

I'll PM you if I have a chat with my friend who worked for a contract house. In the mean time google is your friend. I suspect you'll find plenty of the contract agencies.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:59 PM
 
123 posts, read 451,797 times
Reputation: 35
Health inusrance I found to be a huge difference in price from my hometown to Ca. It also depends if you have any existing issues or past health problems. I have Blue Cross right now and pay very high co pays and office visits are not covered or meds.
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Hot Springs, AR
5,612 posts, read 13,800,305 times
Reputation: 3759
In the US you can purchase your own health insurance which you can use until you are covered by an employer. Try InsWeb.com - Get Free Auto, Car, Home, Health or Life Insurance Rate Comparisons Online. Once you arrive in the US the same companies that offer car insurance offer rental insurance as well. Often you can get a discount for having both with the same company.
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