A Childhood Cancer Survivor’s Map to Health Insurance

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – There are approximately 50 million uninsured people in the U.S. Of those uninsured, young adults are among the highest groups without health insurance. For childhood cancer survivors, however, going without health insurance is not an option.
“As a cancer survivor, you will need health insurance more than ever,” says Pam Gabris, Beyond the Cure Coordinator. “If you don’t have a lapse in coverage, an insurer cannot deny coverage for your illness or related health problems. It’s critical that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities under your health insurance plan to ensure continuous, dependable coverage.”
Currently, the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 allows young adults to be insured as dependents on their parents’ health insurance if they are under the age of 26. But if that isn’t an option, there are other insurance opportunities:
Employer-Provided Insurance. Typically, health insurance offered by employers is a form of managed care. The most common types of managed care are Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), Point of Service Plans (POS), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) and Health Savings Account (HSA). For questions about which type of policy you are covered under, talk to your human resources manager.
Group Insurance. If you are self-employed, or if your company doesn’t provide coverage, group health care policies are sometimes offered through organizations such as labor unions, fraternal and business organizations, student associations or other special-interest groups. Be sure to check with your state’s insurance office to avoid fraudulent providers.
State and Federal Programs. Check to see if you qualify for state or federal health insurance through Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (S-CHIP). As of 2010, pre-existing insurance is available in all states according to the Affordable Care Act.
Drug Coverage Programs. Programs like the Medicare Prescription Drug Discount Card and the Together Rx Access Card offer relief to prescription drug prices. The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) also offers a free prescription drug card that provides significant savings on generic and branded drugs. Visit theNCCS.agelity.com to locate participating pharmacies and print a card.
Individual Policies. Purchasing individual policies can be very expensive, so make sure you exhaust other options first. To get the most of your plan, talk to an insurance broker or contact the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Visit beyondthecure.org to learn more.

Unemployed: Choosing COBRA Subsidy or Individual Health Insurance

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – With the possibility of layoffs lurking around the corner for much of today’s workforce, it is important to be prepared, especially when it comes to health insurance.

President Obama’s recent stimulus package includes a 65 percent subsidy on the cost of COBRA premiums for up to nine months.

The subsidy applies to anyone laid off after September 1, 2008, provided they meet other important criteria. eHealth, Inc. has posted answers to questions about the subsidy at www.COBRALearning.com, as well as a COBRA subsidy calculator, which can help you determine what your subsidized payments will be each month.

But, before you “auto-enroll” in a subsidized nine-month COBRA plan, you may want to explore options in the individual health insurance market. According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 National Health Insurance Plan Study, people who purchased individual health insurance gave it a higher satisfaction rating than those who got healthcare through a small employer (50 employees or fewer).

More importantly, monthly premiums for individual health insurance plans cost, on average, about 60 percent less than average monthly COBRA premiums.

People with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, might have trouble qualifying for individual health insurance, so COBRA might be their best option. But relatively healthy adults might find COBRA more expensive than private plans.

For example, a healthy, single, 30-year-old male could expect to pay $380 per month on COBRA; $133 after the subsidy. But the same man might find individual health insurance from a name-brand insurance company for around $65 per month. Individual plans go through an underwriting process, which means you can be denied coverage. Deductibles, benefits and other features of an individual plan will also differ from COBRA plans, which are group plans.

According to Chris Hakim, Director of COBRA Solutions at eHealthInsurance, “People struggling to make ends meet should explore health insurance coverage in the private market as an alternative to COBRA.

A 2008 survey of 227,000 private health insurance policies found that 50 percent of individual holders paid less than $130 a month, and that over 50 percent of families paid under $300 per month. Over 90 percent of the plans surveyed included lab visits, x-rays and trips to the emergency room and to the OB/GYN. More than 80 percent also covered prescription drugs, well baby visits and periodic exams.

For more information, visit www.eHealthInsurance.com.