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Re: [IP] Insurance -- Long


I've spent years struggling with obtaining consist health insurance.  Problem
started when I left home and was a college student, although my dad did end up
continuing me on his policy until I finished grad school at 23.  Without that, at
that time there was no insurance I could obtain (even if I could have afforded
$200-1000/month) that would have covered pump supplies ect and that did not have
large co pays or deductibles.   Currently, on a national scale, if you have never
been independantly insured, companies may deny you an individual policy.  That
means if you are self employed, employed part time (the community college system,
for instance, hires faculty part-time in multiple districts simultaneously to save
the cost of benefits), or not employed it is very very hard to get any kind of
coverage other than "high risk state policies"  High risk policies are costly,
have higher deductibles and copays (made monthly pump expenses extremely high for
someone in their 20s and just getting by), and incomplete coverage.  After years
of this, 2 1/2 years ago, I lost (it ended) my latest cobra policy (from a
previous job) and realized that the high risk policy in CA could take as long as 6
months to kick in and would cost me $500+ a month for medical expenses which meant
that my monthly income would (then) have about covered rent, food and medical and
nothing, nothing, nothing else (including student loans and so on).  I called the
state of California for other options and was told that if I could have kidney
failure and give up my rental unit in the next 45 days they would cover my medical
expenses.  Otherwise, I was basically on my own.  My husband and I were at that
point planning a wedding the following summer so we snuck out in February
(Valentine's Day) after spending a worrisome January and first half of Feb. and
did a civil marriage which we basically kept a secret.  I felt sort of weird about
it but he kept insisting that we were getting married anyway and he, at this
point, had good insurance from work.  One of the very depressing things during the
11 year period I spent struggling with this is the frequent times people suggested
I get married to solve the problem.  Of course, I didn't have anyone in particular
to marry until I was 30 and found the idea that I needed to get married to get
medical care more than a little upsetting, but perhaps the great irony is that in
the end that is how the problem was solved.  I just was hired tenure track at a
local junior college, so my insurance problems will now be taken care as long as I
stay there (which for most people is a long time).

If you work for a small employer, there are sometimes wait periods but they almost
always provide coverage (safe bet is businesses or employers that have 25 or more
employees).  The larger the employer, the more comprehensive the coverage (the
less the waiting periods -- those seem to be declining the last few years anyway
- -- the less the deductibles, and the more diabetic stuff that is covered).   It is
illegal for an employer to consider or to even ask you about your health when they
hire you and they must cover you to the same extent they cover others.  However,
in a small business, you can cause the premiums for everyone to go way up.
Nonetheless, the smartest move when you interview for a job is not to mention it.
Even if it is illegal, people do sometimes discriminate.

Cobras now help continue coverage from one job to another and it always safest to
pay for it (if you can).  Cobras provide continued coverage under your last policy
to you, but you must pay your former employer the cost of your policy.  Some
policies now include minors who become Majors (? :)) -- kids, basically, who grow
up and/or become self supporting in their cobras.  This seems to vary widely.
Again, larger employers have very comprehensive coverage in this respect, smaller
employers are more variable and the coverage less thorough.  The year I taught
private school (for the insurance policy), their cobra somehow turned out to have
higher co pays and less complete coverage than the policy had and this was
explained through some contract loophole.  Again, though, this is pretty variable
and you not only have to check each employer, you have to recheck every few years
since the policy coverage does change over time.

As for Life Insurance, I've never tried to buy it independantly.  If you are
employed, they can't deny it to you although again smaller employers, especially
those that ask employees to pay a portion of the cost, can change you rate.  Large
school districts and other big companies just cover everyone unconditionally.  Now
that we have a baby coming, I guess I will have to stay employed with the
community college system for certainty.

Health insurance is a major issue so perhaps we all need to become more active
advocates for universal (of whatever kind) health care or insurance.  I have inner
city community college students this semester who are diabetic and can only afford
insulin every few months.  You can imagine how often they get to see a test strip
much less a doctor.  My experience is that if you make it through the post-college
to late 20s age bracket, most middle class or working class people end up with
something.  It can, however, be difficult.  I was a child on a pump rather than a
parent worrying about a child, but if I were the parent, I think I might consider
creating an emergency savings account or fund to help a child through that
transition period (unfortunately, you can't buy them health insurance ahead of
time).  My parents got me set up on a pump as a teenager and then I ended up
struggling alone to finance medical care and pumping.  It can be a tremendous
burden not to mention seriously limiting your job options.  I have encountered
many other 18-28 year olds struggling with this difficulty although some do have
family support.

Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps.

email @ redacted wrote:

> Group question:
>     I was chatting with the father of a 13 yr old diabetic & the subject of
> insurance came up.  We'd both heard that our teenaged daughters will face an
> impossible task, trying to obtain life insurance when they're no longer
> "under our roof"; but he also stated that when his daughter's no longer on
> his health insurance policy, that she'll have a very difficult time getting
> health insurance on her own from an employer.  When I told him that I didn't
> think so because of all the adult pumpers I knew, some of whom had had
> diabetes for decades ( hence it was definitely a pre-existing condition when
> they were hired), he seemed surprised....
>     So, class is now in session & I'm all ears.....Realistically, what can we
> expect Melissa to face when it comes to obtaining both kinds of insurance?????
> Regards, Renee
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> Insulin Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/
> for mail subscription assistance, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org

- ----------------------------------------------------------
Insulin Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/
for mail subscription assistance, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org