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The New Health Insurance Solution

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By pedorrero
July 14, 2006

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or, Pedorrero reads a book. Rather, skims it, while reading the books for free and paying $4.23 for a latte at Books-a-Million.

I think I have the title right.

For many people, sadly, it might be called "No health insurance solution."

Summary: looks like a good overview of the many confusing options for the pre-retirement person in choosing health coverage.

I didn't find any great "game the system" info, but there was a nugget (loophole since closed, of course). Several of the States that forced insurers to take all comers (e.g. everybody pays same rate, no underwriting, I guess) of course have much higher rates ... 2x to 4x those of the states where you have underwriting. This is the "adverse selection" problem, where in those States, you just wait until you have a serious health problem, THEN buy coverage, get treated, drop coverage, repeat as needed. Even the Liberal states apparently soon had enough of that scam.

There was enough scary info in the book that I am likely to keep my health coverage. As for being uninsured, I am told I could look forward to paying up to several times the negotiated (BCBS) insurer's rate for routine medical care. Also mentioned was that many treatment providers might refuse me outright sans insurance.

Some mention was made of a huge problem with our insurance system: namely, a problem once documented is a problem that will likely haunt you for the rest of your life. If you have good insurance, count your blessings and hope you can keep it. I think author made an argument, and pay attention you working Joes, that if you are on a group plan, it can be canceled without notice. It may be cheaper for a person and/or family to get individual insurance (while everyone's healthy, of course!).

For my own case, I am fortunate to have HIPAA ("Guaranteed Issue" in FL) insurance. My 'pre-existing condition' is colon polyps. That alone, is apparently enough to make me a hot potato, even though a follow up test showed no problems. In BCBSFL's case, I can again qualify for underwriting in like ten years, so I have a few more years to go (2008). This is an excellent example of a P.E.C. that was found while being over-tested back in the 1990s. And my present is I'm paying double the rates a 'healthy' person would.

What a tangled web we weave...


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