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Old February 13th 06, 10:23 PM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Skip Gundlach
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

Well, the time is approaching, and just as before when we thought we'd be
leaving soon, life has interrupted (or at least complicated matters).

To shorten the story, following a stress test and immediate catheterization
a week ago, I now have 3 stents in my heart artery having been, and
remaining, regardless, asymptomatic of any problem. I'm going to work on
the boat again in a couple of days, and still do my physical therapy for my
arm, so nothing has changed in that regard. As quickly as my shoulder
objective is reached, we're outta here.

Lydia, when we leave, of course, won't have the insurance which has made
dealing with what's turned out to be a pile of horsepucky on my part
possible. The surgeon is adamant that we should do COBRA when she leaves
and maintain health insurance for quite some time. He also wants me to have
a followup stress test as late as possible before we leave or 6 months from
now, whichever comes first. It's our expectation that to COBRA would nearly
double our cruising budget - which, probably needless to say, changes
matters rather drastically. And, of course, that's only available for a
(relatively) short period of time, in any case.

Worse, we don't expect to be in the US waters more than fleetingly, and then
only peripherally, i. e. Puerto Rico and the US Virgins, as we expect to
cruise the Caribbean.

Lo these 7 years ago, when I started researching via reading this group and
others, long before even looking for a boat, I recall a highly regarded
English company insuring Americans for everywhere other than the US, for
some pittance. Of course, now, (now) with my history, we may have some
great difficulty receiving insurance, at all.

However, to the point of the post, what's folks' recommendations for health
insurance in non-US waters (expected to be Caribbean only for the forseeable
future, but that includes a slow work-down of the thorny path, perhaps some
significant time in the Bahamas for starters)?

Thanks.

L8R

Skip (and Lydia, by proxy)

--
Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
http://tinyurl.com/384p2 The vessel as Tehamana, as we bought her

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you
didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail
away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.
Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain



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Old February 13th 06, 11:30 PM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Dene
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

Skip, I'm a health insurance broker, so I'll do my best. Read below...

"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in message
...
Well, the time is approaching, and just as before when we thought we'd be
leaving soon, life has interrupted (or at least complicated matters).

To shorten the story, following a stress test and immediate

catheterization
a week ago, I now have 3 stents in my heart artery having been, and
remaining, regardless, asymptomatic of any problem. I'm going to work on
the boat again in a couple of days, and still do my physical therapy for

my
arm, so nothing has changed in that regard. As quickly as my shoulder
objective is reached, we're outta here.

Lydia, when we leave, of course, won't have the insurance which has made
dealing with what's turned out to be a pile of horsepucky on my part
possible. The surgeon is adamant that we should do COBRA when she leaves
and maintain health insurance for quite some time. He also wants me to

have
a followup stress test as late as possible before we leave or 6 months

from
now, whichever comes first. It's our expectation that to COBRA would

nearly
double our cruising budget - which, probably needless to say, changes
matters rather drastically. And, of course, that's only available for a
(relatively) short period of time, in any case.


Through who's employment does the COBRA come from, yours or hers. If it's
yours, then you can maintain it yourself and let Lydia acquire coverage with
an individual plan.

Worse, we don't expect to be in the US waters more than fleetingly, and

then
only peripherally, i. e. Puerto Rico and the US Virgins, as we expect to
cruise the Caribbean.

Lo these 7 years ago, when I started researching via reading this group

and
others, long before even looking for a boat, I recall a highly regarded
English company insuring Americans for everywhere other than the US, for
some pittance. Of course, now, (now) with my history, we may have some
great difficulty receiving insurance, at all.


Lloyds of London, through Petersen International. It's been years since I
sold a policy but I'm fairly certain there are health underwriting
questions, which will exclude you.

However, to the point of the post, what's folks' recommendations for

health
insurance in non-US waters (expected to be Caribbean only for the

forseeable
future, but that includes a slow work-down of the thorny path, perhaps

some
significant time in the Bahamas for starters)?


Blue Cross does a nice job but it will be tricky getting you on to their
plans unless you happen to have Cobra through them.

Are you approaching 65? If so, brand new ball game. (a better one).

-Greg


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Old February 14th 06, 01:37 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Dene
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again


"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in message
...
"Dene" wrote in message
...
Skip, I'm a health insurance broker, so I'll do my best. Read below...


Hi, Greg, and thanks for the followup.

Through who's employment does the COBRA come from, yours or hers. If

it's
yours, then you can maintain it yourself and let Lydia acquire coverage
with
an individual plan.


It's Lydia's and I'm the one who needs it, so it would be a family plan
COBRA.

Blue Cross does a nice job but it will be tricky getting you on to their
plans unless you happen to have Cobra through them.


It's BC/BS PPO - the surgeon indicated that his insurance covered him in
unlikely places, so perhaps that would, too.


In that case, I would call BC and ask them what your options are, aside from
Cobra. Cobra is only 18 months long. It's likely they have a conversion
plan which will last you until age 65. It may be superior, in
price/benefits, to Cobra and thus you may be able to enroll now instead of
18 months from now.

The saying I've heard in any case is "when you're in pain, get on the

plane"
(back to the USA). Of course, my asymptomia (?) :{)) means that it could

be
10 years, or never, that I had any sort of heart issues, as, certainly,

this
didn't develop overnight; my "score" based on current cholesterol numbers
which are horrible (156/48[239] - but markedly lower after the stent,

which
makes no sense whatever, and causes me to suspect all of them) have me at

a
10% likelihood of trouble in the next 10 years - but I'm on meds which
should reduce those numbers dramatically, as well as my exercise and diet
aboard which will help as well.

We'd originally thought we'd go bare - but this puts a slightly different
light on it - and, of course, (now) my history may make that the default,
anyway.


I hope you don't go bare. You could lose everything. People insure their
houses, boats, cars, etc. yet they are willing to risk hundreds of thousands
in hospital bills. Doesn't make sense.

Are you approaching 65? If so, brand new ball game. (a better one).


I'll be 65 in a little over 4 years...


Good...you're in no man's land, insurance-wise. It's expensive until
medicare age. Afterwards, you can buy supplements for no premium and Rx
plans for $6/mo.

Trick is.....you gotta get to 65.

-Greg




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Old February 14th 06, 03:40 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Keith Hughes
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

Skip Gundlach wrote:

"Dene" wrote in message
...


It's Lydia's and I'm the one who needs it, so it would be a family plan
COBRA.


Blue Cross does a nice job but it will be tricky getting you on to their
plans unless you happen to have Cobra through them.


Nope - doesn't matter as long as you're *on* COBRA. When COBRA expires
in 18 months, you can get on a BC/BS *portability* plan. They don't
advertise that, 'cause they don't want to sell it, but it's part of the
COBRA legislation (any private health insurer in your state will have a
portability plan). It will be a higher risk group (i.e. more money),
but at 60+ with heart history, you'll almost certainly never make
through underwriting.

My suggestion, based on personal experience, is to get on COBRA, then
look for something cheaper. Don't let your COBRA grace period expire,
else you'll not be eligble for a portability plan, and if you can't get
underwritten, you *will not get* insured. End of story. I'm 'only' 50,
with not much medical history (High BP, under control and some
arthritis) and with the exception of the portability policy (which they
are required to sell to me) I'm uninsurable. Trust me, get the COBRA
while you look around!

Oh, and trust *no* agents' assurance of acceptance - not until the
policy is underwritten. We went through several who said "no problem",
only to find out - 3 months later - that underwriting rejected the
application. Sure, the money is refunded (yes, you have to pay each
month, not knowing if you're insured for real), but if your eligibility
for COBRA/Portability has expired, you're hosed.

Keith Hughes

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Old February 14th 06, 05:08 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Dene
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again


"Keith Hughes" wrote in message
...
Skip Gundlach wrote:

"Dene" wrote in message
...


It's Lydia's and I'm the one who needs it, so it would be a family plan
COBRA.


Blue Cross does a nice job but it will be tricky getting you on to their
plans unless you happen to have Cobra through them.


Nope - doesn't matter as long as you're *on* COBRA. When COBRA expires
in 18 months, you can get on a BC/BS *portability* plan. They don't
advertise that, 'cause they don't want to sell it, but it's part of the
COBRA legislation (any private health insurer in your state will have a
portability plan). It will be a higher risk group (i.e. more money),
but at 60+ with heart history, you'll almost certainly never make
through underwriting.

My suggestion, based on personal experience, is to get on COBRA, then
look for something cheaper. Don't let your COBRA grace period expire,
else you'll not be eligble for a portability plan, and if you can't get
underwritten, you *will not get* insured. End of story. I'm 'only' 50,
with not much medical history (High BP, under control and some
arthritis) and with the exception of the portability policy (which they
are required to sell to me) I'm uninsurable. Trust me, get the COBRA
while you look around!

Oh, and trust *no* agents' assurance of acceptance - not until the
policy is underwritten. We went through several who said "no problem",
only to find out - 3 months later - that underwriting rejected the
application. Sure, the money is refunded (yes, you have to pay each
month, not knowing if you're insured for real), but if your eligibility
for COBRA/Portability has expired, you're hosed.

Keith Hughes


I agree and would add that there may be a state program for high risk which
one could be eligible for. My wife is on the Oregon version. We bled
Cobra's enrollment period (waiting 90 days to committ, then another 90 to
pay) before we ditched it and put her on it, leaving me and the kids to get
a cheaper individual plan.

No agent in his right mind would guarantee anything in underwriting. Sad
you encountered a couple of clowns.

-Greg




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Old February 14th 06, 07:55 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Larry
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in news:a8d69$43f106e7
:

The surgeon is adamant that we should do COBRA


Of course he is! You goin' off healthy to screw around on a boat ISN'T
gonna make his Mercedes and house payments or buy him a new waterfront
mansion on the beach at Kiawah Island. I can't imagine why he wants to get
you hooked-on-surgery and keep you from going anywhere, can you?

Only lawyers are worse than doctors, and should be next in line for the
guillotine after we run out of lawyers...

  #7   Report Post  
Old February 14th 06, 08:10 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Larry
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in news:9cc0d
:

It's BC/BS PPO - the surgeon indicated that his insurance covered him

in
unlikely places, so perhaps that would, too.



Oh, wonderful, BC/BS. Let me tell you what they did to me in the late
80's.......

I had a group plan BC/BS of SC with one of my client music stores I do
lots of work for. $386/month for me, wife and daughter...ouch! It was
to stop the wife screaming at me, which worked.

I used to have occasional kidney stones, just to keep me from being too
happy, caused by Charleston's calcium-laced lake drinking water. I drink
homebrew distilled, now, much better. One of the stones didn't pass in a
day of being doubled up on the carpet, so I bit the bullet and checked
into the hospital under the BC/BS plan to have it removed with laser
litho-something-or-other-to-boost-the-price. I was in there a few days
with tubes sticking out of "it", not fun.

The bill was about $3000 plus $1200 for the doctor for his 1/2 hour
trouble. They submitted the forms to BC/BS of SC....

BC/BS of SC had waited, patiently, for me to make a claim then I got a
letter saying they could not pay my bill UNTIL I agreed to take my WIFE
off the policy as they didn't want anything to do with someone who MIGHT
have a claim for a thyroid condition. I refused. She was the reason I
agreed to give these *******s $386 a month for nothing! "We'll cancel
your policy.", they told me. I asked them what happened to all the
thousands I'd put in over the last 3 years. They said they'd return my
money because they cancelled. I told them to send me a check,
immediately. No interest, of course, they kept that. Nice company, eh?

I paid the bills, and put the rest into the credit union at the AFB near
the house, applying $386/month to MY ACCOUNT, this time. After a few
years, credit union voiced concern I was over their CUA account limit, so
I've let it run on interest all these years since then. Screw BC/BS. I
probably got enough to pay, now. Well, they USED to pay fair interest on
it....not any more.

How awful......

  #8   Report Post  
Old February 14th 06, 11:47 AM posted to rec.boats.cruising
dwbauer
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

Been so cold lately, the Dr's and lawyers have had their hands in their own
pockets!
"Larry" wrote in message
...
"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in
news:a8d69$43f106e7
:

The surgeon is adamant that we should do COBRA


Of course he is! You goin' off healthy to screw around on a boat ISN'T
gonna make his Mercedes and house payments or buy him a new waterfront
mansion on the beach at Kiawah Island. I can't imagine why he wants to
get
you hooked-on-surgery and keep you from going anywhere, can you?

Only lawyers are worse than doctors, and should be next in line for the
guillotine after we run out of lawyers...



  #9   Report Post  
Old February 14th 06, 11:43 PM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Paul Cassel
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again

Skip Gundlach wrote:
Well, the time is approaching, and just as before when we thought we'd be
leaving soon, life has interrupted (or at least complicated matters).

To shorten the story, following a stress test and immediate catheterization
a week ago, I now have 3 stents in my heart artery having been, and
remaining, regardless, asymptomatic of any problem.


If you aren't symptomatic, what caused you to get a test and then some
stents?
  #10   Report Post  
Old February 14th 06, 11:55 PM posted to rec.boats.cruising
Dene
 
Posts: n/a
Default Health insurance, again


"Larry" wrote in message
...
"Skip Gundlach" skipgundlach at gmail dotcom wrote in news:9cc0d
:



Oh, wonderful, BC/BS. Let me tell you what they did to me in the late
80's.......

I had a group plan BC/BS of SC with one of my client music stores I do
lots of work for. $386/month for me, wife and daughter...ouch! It was
to stop the wife screaming at me, which worked.

I used to have occasional kidney stones, just to keep me from being too
happy, caused by Charleston's calcium-laced lake drinking water. I drink
homebrew distilled, now, much better. One of the stones didn't pass in a
day of being doubled up on the carpet, so I bit the bullet and checked
into the hospital under the BC/BS plan to have it removed with laser
litho-something-or-other-to-boost-the-price. I was in there a few days
with tubes sticking out of "it", not fun.

The bill was about $3000 plus $1200 for the doctor for his 1/2 hour
trouble. They submitted the forms to BC/BS of SC....

BC/BS of SC had waited, patiently, for me to make a claim then I got a
letter saying they could not pay my bill UNTIL I agreed to take my WIFE
off the policy as they didn't want anything to do with someone who MIGHT
have a claim for a thyroid condition. I refused. She was the reason I
agreed to give these *******s $386 a month for nothing! "We'll cancel
your policy.", they told me. I asked them what happened to all the
thousands I'd put in over the last 3 years. They said they'd return my
money because they cancelled. I told them to send me a check,
immediately. No interest, of course, they kept that. Nice company, eh?


Your story seems so bizarre to me. Did BC pay for your kidneystone?
Secondly, what did your wife's thyroid condition have to do with it, unless
it wasn't disclosed when you apply? Finally, did you consider reporting thi
s to SC's insurance dept?

Situation is much better now, due to pertinent national legislation which
eliminates insurance companies from pulling this kind of stuff. Only
trouble is, rates have risen through the roof because now insurance
companies are "blind" to the risk they must accept, on group policies.
Access has improved but at significant costs.

I paid the bills, and put the rest into the credit union at the AFB near
the house, applying $386/month to MY ACCOUNT, this time. After a few
years, credit union voiced concern I was over their CUA account limit, so
I've let it run on interest all these years since then. Screw BC/BS. I
probably got enough to pay, now. Well, they USED to pay fair interest on
it....not any more.

How awful......


In essence, you self insured, which is what I always recommend to my healthy
clients. Take a high deductible plan and stuff the savings into a savings
account or MSA.

Just don't go bare.

BTW.....my kidney stone was a 13k bill.

-Greg




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