More new “Followers” to thank today. Welcome aboard and a big THANK YOU to Renee and Lonnie. I appreciate the interest you are showing in my little blog about our fulltime lifestyle. I hope you like it.
I should have known. Yesterday’s blog topic was one of those hot-button issues that cannot be resolved easily. I should have just let it go by without mentioning the problem. I wasn’t thinking that way at the time, and I was just so shocked and frustrated by the health insurance situation, I put my thoughts into the blog. I wasn’t trying to open a political discussion really, as that is not my intention with this blog at all. And, more importantly, I was not trying to elicit pity for our situation. What’s usually on my mind is what comes out in the blog.
Bruce and I made the conscious decision 24 years ago to become “unemployed by choice” and that meant purchasing an Individual Health Insurance policy. That was our choice. Now we live by that choice and the consequences it can bring. We accept that.
Back in 1994 when we moved to the state of Washington from California, we checked around for an insurance company that offered individual policies. We had a choice of 12 companies at that time and we selected the one that gave us the best policy for the money. Fast forward about 6 years from then and we had incurred a couple of hefty premium hikes. We began checking out those options with the other companies to find that by then there were only 2 companies left that would sell us an individual policy. The company we already had was one, and the other choice had lousy policies to offer us. So, we had to stick with what we had. We were able to adjust our deductible to a higher amount and it saved us some money.
About three years ago we had another hefty premium hike and we, once again, started looking at the possibility of another option. That was when we applied to Group Health, a cooperative type of insurance company like Kaiser. They rejected us because of pre-existing conditions. Yesterday a comment was left about this issue. The comment read that the new health reform legislation doesn’t go fully into effect until 2014 and at that time the pre-existing conditions problem will go away. TRUE, and we know this. Problem is….this is 2010 and the problem exists NOW.
We were also told via a comment that we were getting a “bait and switch” deal. I don’t think so and here’s why. The policy we have was discontinued to new members in the mid-90’s. We have been allowed to keep the policy through a “grandfather clause”. So, no new members have been added to that plan and no more money from new policy holders fund that policy. The new plan we were being offered is a far reaching policy that includes folks from all age groups, it is not just all us old folks. The risk to the company, therefore, is lower than the risk from our current policy.
Today we have taken the option offered for the new policy. The coverage is quite similar and we raised our deductible to $7,500 per year. The only issue that isn’t as good as the old policy is the prescription coverage which we will work with. Our monthly premium with the new policy will be $860.00 when the coverage begins on October 1st. Even with a $500.00 deductible for non-generic prescriptions we will save a good bit of money. Right now Bruce only has one drug that is non-generic so that is good.
I’m sure many fulltimers out there have a cheaper health insurance policy. We are not willing to change our domicile in order to open the door to more options. Again, this is our choice. We wish to stay residents of Washington state. Also, you can call it fear or whatever else you like, but I am not interested in going over to a “Joe Schmo” insurance company that is small. If we leave the company we’ve been dealing with since 1994 and go to another and are not satisfied, we cannot go back again. The door will be closed due to those pre-existing conditions. At least until 2014 and Bruce will be on Medicare by then.
In the meantime this could be a temporary solution while we do research to see if there are any other companies that would suit our needs. It buys us time since we will still be covered fully and not have to pay over $1,000 per month for coverage.
Also in a comment about raising our deductible: We could not raise the deductible on our old policy any more because everything in that policy was “frozen” due to the fact that it was no longer offered for sale. In reality, we know they are hoping all of us in that policy group would just give up and go away so they can just close it out completely. Well, it worked for us this time! Mission accomplished for them.
This will end any further discussion (on my part) about our health care situation. I don’t want to get into any back and forth political discussions about the health care reform bill or anything else. I'm uncomfortable with that as it is not the focus of my blog, and as I wrote at the top….I should have known better.
I just wanted to clarify final details and let you know of our Temporary Solution. Thanks for listening.
Until next time…..so long for now!