A Question About Health Insurance

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by BritStudent, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. BritStudent

    BritStudent

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    I'm writing a paper on health insurance in the US and, never having used it, I'm unsure how a few things work.

    Suppose you have employer health insurance and you get cancer (or any other serious, potentially long term condition). Does this mean that if you quit or lose your job, you lose your coverage? And if that happens, no other insurer will take you since you have cancer?

    What happens if you want to move jobs?

    If you have insurance (employer or otherwise) and you get cancer, what happens if you want to move insurer?

    Thanks
     
  2. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    There are no easy answers to this. It varies by state law, terms of the policy, COBRA and every little loophole that anybody could possibly dream up to add.

    I am in Tennessee. Just last month I had to tell a cancer patient that her group health insurance through her employer had been cancelled during a course of chemo. She was still working, too.

    If you have a diagnosis such as cancer, you will not be getting any new coverage on it. If you get a new policy (somehow) it will be excluded by a rider.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010

  3. MrsKitty

    MrsKitty

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    I'm sorry. I just noticed you are in England so I doubt you've ever heard of COBRA.

    In the US, if you have group coverage through your employer but lose the job for some reason, you have the option to buy into a group policy on your own for a certain time, if you meet the conditions. I've never looked into what they are so I can't help you there. Even if you do meet them, your premiums may be so high that you can't pay them so you sill don't get coverage.
     
  4. G-Lock808

    G-Lock808

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    none will cover if your pre existing is cancer. you'd end up being billed for any additional cancer treatments. if you die, your spouse or kids will have to flip the bill.
     
  5. Isaiah1412

    Isaiah1412

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    Its not quite this absolute. Some insurers will cover pre-existing conditions depending on how far back the diagnosis was, if there was no lapse in coverage under HIPPA, or other reasons depending on state laws and their own policies. Many will not. Its certainly a huge concern for many though.

    Things you should know about Healthcare in the US (from someone who's family lives the debate from several different sides):
    -Not all heathcare plans are the same, but there are some laws that apply to them. The biggest are COBRA (which provides a way for people to continue group health care at their expense if they are terminated or leave a job) and HIPPA. There are also varying regulations by state. You definitely need to understand both HIPPA and COBRA to discuss healthcare in the US.

    -Pre-existing conditions are not the only, or even biggest concern with cancer or simillar illnesses. Most private plans have a "Lifetime Maximum" amount that once hit they will not pay any more over. These amounts are usually in the hundreds of thousands to million dollars or more, but that number shrinks real fast when you are battling a severe, long term illness.

    -Contrary to popular belief in Europe The US DOES have Government healthcare. In fact we have more of it than any country on Earth. There are more people on Medicare alone than there are in all of Canada. We also have government programs such as Medicaid, the VA, the BIA, and dozens of others at both federal and state levels. Unlike many European countries though we don't extend it to everyone, yet. The size of the US population and the enormous amounts of money involved make it unlikely we ever will. Current reforms initiatives are focusing on trying to get more Americans to buy private health insurance or making it easier for them to keep insurance they already have. How well this will work is still open for debate.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2010
  6. MetalSlugIV

    MetalSlugIV

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    I was denied private insurance because I was diagnosed with ADD in the 6th grade. I'm serious. When I turned 22 I went off my Dad's insurance. I had no coverage gaps and they still turned me down. Lucky for me I was able to get some minimal insurance through my college. I have to use the "campus doctor" which is not a real doctor. It's a nurse practitioner which means they can't prescribe a lot of stuff. If I get in a car wreck at least I won't have to declare bankruptcy from medical bills.
     
  7. certifiedfunds

    certifiedfunds Cosmopolitan Bias

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    You should know the flip side:

    I can call my physician at 8am Monday morning and have an appointment before lunch.

    If I need bloodwork, it is drawn before I leave and I have results the next day.

    If I need an MRI or a CT, I can have that done before 5pm.

    If the MRI indicates I need surgery, even if it isn't life threatening or urgent, I can have it done before the end of the week and probably within 48 hours.
     
  8. Daynja

    Daynja

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    Who told you this? A bill collector?
     
  9. G-Lock808

    G-Lock808

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    they wont go directly after your children, they will go after your assets that would go to your children.

    from what ive heard, its going to be even worse for a spouse. joint bank account and what not.

    correct me if im wrong.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010
  10. Daynja

    Daynja

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    Yes, I believe this is correct. Joint accounts are the worst if there's any debt. Just wanted to clarify that they can go after the assets of the estate, not the assets of the heirs. If the estate has no assets, well then I'd say they did a pretty good job since you can't take it with you.
     
  11. Fungunner

    Fungunner

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    It's not all cut and dry and not all employers and insurance companies go by the same ridgid rules. A company I worked for made it possible for people to keep working, after being diagnosed with cancer. Their schedules were changed to accomodate treatments and necessary time off. One employee even switched insurance following his diagnosis - from Blue Cross to Kaiser Permanente. There were few issues at that time, it was due to the employer having some muscle, because the vast majority of the employees were already with Kaiser. I think Kaiser made more of an effort to treat the man and probably kept him living longer than had he remained with the other insurer.

    Are there companies out there that might let you go if you are diagnosed with cancer, yes. Will all companies terminate your employment or insurance, should you get diagnosed with cancer, no.
     
  12. BritStudent

    BritStudent

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    Ok so, I'm assuming most people take out a policy for, say, five years? If you get cancer during those five years, does that mean the insurance company won't renew your policy? Are they bound to pay for anything that happens 'on their watch', even if those payments are needed after the policy ends?

    Also, why would your employer fire you for being diagnosed with cancer? Even if they can't offer you health insurance anymore, couldn't they still employ you without it, or even offer you some cash to reimburse you for the health insurance you're no longer getting?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2010