Annual Changes to My Health Insurance

Every year since I started this plan through some union for business owners, which exists purely for the purposes of affordable (well now that’s a relative term) health insurance coverage, the monthly premium has increased by $30. This year, they altered the benefits – doctor visit copays have gone up by $10 for my regular doc and $25 for a specialist. My ER coverage has thankfully been restored to a copay situation (though obnoxiously high @ $200) instead of a deductible plus co-insurance – but doctors’ fees are separate. I can see all kinds of opportunities for them to get out of paying those bills, hmph. Still no dental, no vision, no meds…all for the low low price of $420/month plus $5 for paying electronically. Oh, if I pay be check, it’s a $10 fee. What a load of crap.

I’m thinking of cancelling my health insurance upon my departure for Africa in early April, getting travel medical insurance for a month, and then starting up with a new plan upon my return. I’ll be seeing my financial advisor next week to see what he’s got in mind, but I’ll most likely switch to similar-yet-better coverage with the same overall insurance company (BCBS) through freelancersunion.org. I’ve been putting off this decision for 10 months because I’m still waiting for my vascular surgeon to finish what he started (varicose veins). However, it would appear he almost never does phlebectomies and I’m fed up with begging for surgery. Sorry about the tangent, but if I wanted the whole precess to take 18 months, I could get treated this shabbily for free on the NHS in the UK. Hmph. ‘Nuff said.

How the new plan is better:
$10 generic drugs instead of a truly lame “discount plan”, $100 ER co-pay instead of $200, eye coverage instead of none, $190 a month CHEAPER!!!

How the plan is worse:
Co-pays are $5-10 higher, and I suspect that the $800 hospital inpatient co-pay with the old plan translates to a $3000 “facility deductible” on the new plan.

Wow, honestly didn’t know the rate for this plan was so low — it’s obviously been renegotiated for 2009, because I remember the difference being more like $70/month. This is HUGE!!! The savings (assuming I don’t need inpatient hospital care, which has only happened at birth, in 1976, and in 1994) will be $2300 a year. That’s a 10-day trip to India!!!

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3 Responses

  1. I work in the entertainment industry in NYC, and I know a lot of people who get their insurance through the freelancers union. In fact when I started reading your post I was immediately going to suggest it. However when I read, you know 5 more sentences in, you mentioned it. 🙂

    Everyone I know seems to like it. It is way cheaper than getting health insurance on your own, or using the “discount” cards.

    Also I know you’re into CVS (So am I!) They off a ‘discount’ prescription card that, I believe, you can use on top of your insurance. There is an annual membership fee, but I’m not sure what it is.

    Goodluck!

  2. You might want to be careful about having a gap in coverage. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to ask your health insurance broker what their underwriting guidelines are for gaps in coverage. (I truly doubt that the travel med insurance will qualify as interim coverage.) But if that’s no problem, I think your plan is great.

  3. Aladyinred – thanks for the CVS info, I had no idea. Maybe I’ll be able to take advantage of one of those “transfer your prescription” deals! I am soooo not looking forward to pulling the paperwork together for Freelancers Union – I’m a massage therapist, I have dozens of clients every month!

    Shtink – It’s not a problem…I checked, I can go either 60 or 90 days without coverage and not have a problem with pre-existing conditions.

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