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Oh My word, what about health insurance?

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Forum topic by Mark A. DeCou posted 10-09-2006 08:48 PM 2066 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark A. DeCou

1992 posts in 3062 days


10-09-2006 08:48 PM

NOW HEAR THIS: I do not get anything from anyone for posting any names of health providers in this Forum. I do not sell insurance, nor get any commissions from any insurance companies (but I would be open to getting paid, so call me!), so what I have to say is a personal opinion, only provided to help open the discussion, and see what others are doing about insurance.

So, here it goes:
I can’t tell you how many times I get asked about health insurance by folks that wish they could leave their corporate jobs and do something they really enjoy. Working for the “Man” comes with some “benefits’” such as; steady pay, someone that says they will help you retire in comfort, people to fall back on in times of trouble, and the promise of low-cost health insurance to cover everything from first-aid to major medical problems, and sometimes even disability insurance. They even cover half of your costs for Social Security (ok, ok, the Feds make them do that much). But, you might wonder why all of those benefits are provided to you? Stop and think about it, if all of those benefits weren’t provided, how many of you would continue to show up on Monday morning? The “Man” knows that, and so He provides the benefits.

Fear of the unknown and worries about personal bankruptcy caused by unplanned health problems, sends many of our family, friends, and neighbors to jobs they hate each Monday morning. I know this because it was true for me, and like I said, from the countless number of people that have spoken to me about it in the past.

This is the summary of the information I always offer when people ask:

In the past, I have considered several different options for getting health coverage:
1) have spouse get a job and provide income and insurance for me.
2) continue to work at a job I hate to keep insurance.
3) pay “Cobra” payments from past job-provided insurance.
4) go without insurance, and pray for good health.
5) buy American Medical Security health insurance plan for self employed people.
6) buy “National Association for the Self Employed” insurance through Mega Health.
7) buy health coverage through other companies, such as “Blue Cross Blue Shield.”
8) consider getting another job that pays better and provides insurance and benefits.

When I spent several years exploring the options of self-employment, counting the sacrifices required, and seeking out full-time artists to get advice from, I was told by every person I contacted for me to pick “Option 1.” And for some families, this might be the best. But, for our family it wouldn’t work, as my wife wanted to live out her dream of staying home to raise kids. So for us, I had to move on down the list.

I have been most happy out of all the above listed options with Number 6, insurance provided through my membership in the www.nase.org group. I found this insurance through a trade show, where we happened onto an insurance salesman. The sales person that would call on me in Kansas, will be different than anyone else would use, so if you are interested, get on their website and get someone to contact you.

We are healthy, family of four, no bad health history, no prescriptions, safe lifestyle, no dangerous hobbies, no alcohol consumption, no smoking, no drugs, no sexual promiscuity, no “nothing,” (pretty un-American in a lot of ways). For our health coverage, and the group’s membership, our health costs are around $400 per month. This has to do with a lot of factors, so get your own quotes. Also, in this $400, I have pay $50/month more than I could because I am heavier by 10 pounds than their height/weight chart allowed (So, the wife is riding me about the pounds, and the $600/year cost that it causes). So, the end result could be that our costs are more like $350/month if my diet works out.

Now, I don’t speak “insurance-ease” language, so I don’t totally understand all of the coverage that I have, or don’t have, so just don’t ask me. If you have questions about the coverage, ask someone that might be able to answer those questions at the website, or from a salesperson.

I do know that I have a good sized deductible, I can choose whatever doctor I want, and the less I use a doctor, the cheaper my future costs are. So far, so good. If this opinion changes, I will sure let you all know.

I’d be very pleased to hear what others have done to get insurance,
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com


40 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2971 days


#1 posted 10-13-2006 12:01 AM

Thanks Mark! I just talked to the fellow from nase and signed up. I had a heart attact about 5 years ago so i figured my cost would be astronomical…i was pleasantly suprized. I was fearing a $1200.00 a month as I’ve seen other woodworkers have to pay, so I never even got a qoute. By the way when i had my heart attact I was employed by an outfit who could not “afford” insurance. (I get to hear the coyotes at night and see them some mornings…Thanks God)

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2971 days


#2 posted 10-31-2006 10:17 PM

Suprise…the rest of the story is they turned down my application due to my heart attact. Same old crap. Now we see if I get a refund for joining NASE.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1992 posts in 3062 days


#3 posted 11-13-2006 09:25 PM

Sorry that this didn’t work out for you. You may find the benefits of being a member of NASE are worth the membership costs, so I would recommend that you look through their entire benefits list before you quit it.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2967 days


#4 posted 01-07-2007 10:22 PM

Dennis, don’t feel alone. I’ve had two operations with three stents and have diabetes. I currently work for a utility company that has great insurance, but because I would face the same discrimination as you do because of the heart problems, I can not even think about going into another line of work to get off of these rotating shifts that throw my blood sugar for loops everytime I go from day to night shift and back again. With all the medications and check ups, I couldn’t afford to be uninsured. I hope you find a compasionate insurance company that will cover your medical insurance needs. Until then, may God keep you healthy and safe.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2818 days


#5 posted 01-27-2007 07:51 PM

There may be other associations that offer health insurance too. Or maybe we could make lumberjocks an association that some carrier would provide coverage to? There are already over 300 members, which would qualify as a mid to large size group for most carriers. I know at least one of the “Blues” were interested in covering associations as a way to get new members.

As someone now on COBRA, I can tell you the costs are amazing. I dread when I have to change to another plan. Maybe I should get out my tin cup for donations now to beat the rush.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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Bill

2579 posts in 2818 days


#6 posted 03-17-2007 07:27 PM

After looking at my costs for the year, I hope I can find a more reasonable priced health insurance. It is hard to make a profit with this kind of monthly bill.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View BassBully's profile

BassBully

259 posts in 2753 days


#7 posted 03-18-2007 07:38 AM

Mark,

Thank you for the post. I’ve been wanting to ask you how you provide health coverage for your family, now I don’t need to. Like you said, I continue to work for the corporate world mainly for the benefits. The other main reason is college loans. It scares me to think about the costs I would face if I became self-employed.

My company benefits are about the best I’ve found. I have asthma so I have to pay $25/month for medicine that would otherwise cost me upwards to $100 without their insurance. Plus, we’re not done having children and our first child was born three weeks early and had to stay in the hospital for a week. Compared to the total costs, my portion was very minimal. An insurance company like you have would probably discriminate against me for that reason and with more children on the way, it fears me to take that chance.

Maybe someday I will.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

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BassBully

259 posts in 2753 days


#8 posted 03-18-2007 08:28 AM

Mark,

By the way, you could save your marriage and health insurance costs if you’d quit stealing M&M’s from your wife’s trail mix bag!

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2744 days


#9 posted 03-18-2007 01:46 PM

I know what all of you are talking about. I, too, cannot get health insurance because I have had 2 (or 3) heart attacks and have 5 stents.
In case of emergency you should know that all hospitals are required to have a charity policy. They must excuse 5% of their “profit” for charity. My bill was over $70K and they wrote it all off because that year the hospital had not met it’s charitable obligation and the cutoff for my income for that year would have had to be in excess of $308K. While I wouldn’t have made that much in a good year I surely could not make it in the year of recovery. Made my wife feel a lot better.
Another thing I have learned is to negotiate with the doctors and hospitals first. We all know that the insurance company does not pay the normal billing rate nor does Medicare or Medicaid. You can usually bargain them down to somewhat close to those rates if you do it beforehand. This could be a savings of near 50-60% off the normal rate.

BTW this is my first post but I found the topic near and dear to my heart.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2744 days


#10 posted 03-18-2007 03:01 PM

Forgot another tip.
As I don’t have insurance neither does my wife.
She needed an MRI and the local purveyor quoted one exorbitant price.
I did a google search for “discount mri” got a quote that was 40% of what was originally qouted by the local and they agreed to match it.
With what we had been given as quotes for mediocre insurance was still high due to our ages and health history our medical bills are not really excessive considering what we save in premiums and copays.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2971 days


#11 posted 03-18-2007 07:39 PM

Yes my problem is when my families health is in jeopardy I don’t think about the price…then I get charged 40% more than those covered by health insurance and the doctors save another 30% on administrative cost when I pay in cash. Then I can’t take it off my taxes so I’m stuck again…paying taxes for prisoners and bureaucrats health insurance…and all those who just can’t afford to pay. I guess I’m feeling a bit abused by our medical system. So I just have to let it go, because it is obvious to me it will not get fixed by our government!

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2818 days


#12 posted 03-18-2007 07:58 PM

I am not sure if the government fix would not be worse than the system we have now Dennis. I so agree, the current system is not working.

Everyone says let the market work, but in this case it is so distorted that it does not work. There is not a true market for purchasing health insurance, since the primary customers are the companies that offer coverage to their employees, not the employees themselves.

The payment system is also distorted as well. The health insurance companies control the payments to the doctors and hospitals. They use their buying power to force down their costs. So, the doctors and hospitals raise their rates for those not covered to make up the reduction.

Having worked in the industry for many years, it is a subject that concerns me greatly. I have no problem with anyone who has coverage, I think that is great. I feel sorry for those who do not or have to pay for their own. Sorry to vent, but it does hit home to me in many ways.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2817 days


#13 posted 03-18-2007 08:14 PM

and we, in Canada, are headed towards your system.. silly us

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2744 days


#14 posted 03-18-2007 08:29 PM

The complaints of Dennis and Bill are well recognized.
Another little secret:
There have been a number of lawsuits against hospitals for the inequitable billing practices, especially against those who cannot get or cannot afford medical insurance.
The result of most of them has been that the hospital has had to reduce its charges to those folks.
The “tort reform” that doctors wanted did not result in decreased premiums. In fact, they usually increased after laws limiting what could be collected in medmal suits.
My doctors and hospitals recognize this and that’s why they are willing to negotiate – just like the market says should happen.
Dennis, talk to your doctors. They will deal. Then, you only need insurance with a $10K deductible for catastophes and you are ahead of the game.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Greg3G's profile

Greg3G

815 posts in 2742 days


#15 posted 04-20-2007 05:53 AM

Another option is a Health Savings Account. These are fairly new. They allow you to put money into an account tax free. This money can be used to pay for any medical expence, premiums, drugs, etc. When you replentish the spent money, it goes in tax fee. There are several companies out there that will set up an insurance plan with a high deductable and a HSA to cover the detuctable. That is what I am planning to do when I make the move away from corporate life. (Just as soon as my wife and I get the kids through college, only 15 yrs : )

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

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