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Medical Insurance for cancer survivors

tko683
Posts: 257
Joined: Aug 2011

Does anyone know of any insurance companies that will give a policy to cancer survivors? We currently have insurance for our family through my husband's job but he is undergoing treatment for stage 4 rectal cancer and we don't know how long he will be able to work. I am trying to find a back-up plan but with both of our medical histories including cancer I am afraid that we may be left without insurance unless I find a full-time job with good insurance....Any information is appreciated. Thanks, and best wishes to all of you survivors!

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

I know it comes as a shock to most people when they suddenly have to pay what was their employers portion of the insurance, but for those of us with pre-existing conditions it can be a godsend, and would continue to cover the whole family (if you so choose).

Other things to think about now:

Does the current employer fund a Long Term Disability program? If so, your husband is elibible.

Does the current employer fund a life insurance policy? Does your husband carry extra life insurance? It may be possible to collect some of those funds early based on the diagnoses, and those monies can be used to cover medical expenses, including Cobra payments.

Visit your local Social Security office and start the process for getting him approved. Doing this early can cut down the usual five month waiting period after he stops working.

Getting approved early also shortens the wait time to Medicare eligibility.

Best to both of you,

Blake

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

I think Abrub (I hope I have this right) is an insurance broker, and depending on what state you are in might be able to steer you in the direction of other options.

tko683
Posts: 257
Joined: Aug 2011

Blake, I think there is a time limit on Cobra. I will have to check on that. So are you saying that he should apply for SS disability now? I was under the impression that he should wait until he isn't working. We don't have all the details about long term disability from his company but my understanding is that he receives 60% of his salary but no benefits. We are still in the information gathering stage so thanks for all the info. Wishing you the best.

Teri

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

is 18 months, with an extension available for those on SSDI to cover the difference to Medicare (which is a 24 month wait).

I am currently going through this, so I am just relating my experience and what I remember being told by my local Social Security office.

He would not be starting SSDI, just getting them to say that he is eligible as of date xx-xx.

This can (not saying it will) cut down on the waits if/when he does go out.

Some comments on the 60%, currently a significant portion of his taxes are payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) with a smaller percentage going to income taxes (of course, this is dependent on your income). If this was paid for out of your husbands post-tax income, in other words he actually paid the premiums and not the company, then all income from the LTD insurance is tax free.

If there is a pension from a previous employer (I had one from my days as a retail clerk), and any 401k/IRA monies are now available without penalty (I highly recommend confirming this with a qualified financial adviser).

Have your husband ask about about or look up any life insurance policies he may have. With this diagnoses he may be able to collect some or all of the monies now. Also, in most states, when he goes out the employer supplied life insurance payments are suspended, with the policy remaining in force.

One of the reasons I recommend getting all of this wrapped up ahead of time is any delay can mean a delay in payment. Depending on your financial situation, a period of a few weeks or months without income can be devastating.

Caveat: For the purpose of FMLA NEVER tell your employer that you do not intend to return to work at the end of the FMLA time limit, as this frees them of almost all of their responsibilities under the law. Any conversation with a Human Resources employee should start with a demand that the entire conversation is to be treated as confidential.

tko683
Posts: 257
Joined: Aug 2011

Blake, Thanks so much for all the information. You sure do know alot about this subject and it looks like I have alot of work to do! Thanks again and I hope that you get approved quickly! Best wishes to you,
Teri

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

and he's correct: depending on your state, we may be able to get you insurance that is not medically underwritten. Note that depending on the state, it may be very expensive, but when there are no other options, we have to bite the bullet.

Note when I say not medically underwritten, it means that the rates for your husband and your family would be the same as that for any other family, regardless of medical conditions.

Cobra will probably be your best bet for starters, but I'm happy to help you look at other options.

Private message me if you are interested, and I'll give you my business contacts.

Alice

tko683
Posts: 257
Joined: Aug 2011

I live in NC and will definately message you if we need more information. I know I have seen something on TV about getting insurance once you've had cancer but don't remember the name of the company. We have been on CObra before, it can be very pricey also. Thanks again,
Teri

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

so I can't help you there. Be careful of the ads you see on TV tho. Often those policies have specific limits, or only pay a certain amount per day (like AFLAC). They don't pay actual costs, but just provide a daily allowance.

I can help you understand those offerings. As to the disability/Medicare/Medicaid - others here have much more knowledge than I. Blake certainly knows more than I do on the process for Medicare based on disability. I won't advise on areas I don't know.

Wishing you the best.
Alice

pluckey's picture
pluckey
Posts: 472
Joined: Jul 2009

I thought pre-existing conditions were no longer allowed as a way to not cover a person?

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1542
Joined: Mar 2010

I'm not sure when all the changes go into effect, but at the moment, in some states you can still be denied based on pre-existing conditions.

Also, if you are not denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition, your condition might not be covered for up to 12 months.

In addition, if the plan is medically underwritten, premiums will be higher than those for healthy people - often unaffordable.

pluckey's picture
pluckey
Posts: 472
Joined: Jul 2009

When my Cobra option was given to me, I about fainted.
1) I am no longer working
2) How the hell can I then afford the premium?

i'm getting amd all over again

judman92
Posts: 31
Joined: Jul 2011

My health insurance premiums came as quite a shock to me. I stopped working towards the end of May and tried to go back on a short term basis in August but it didn't work out. I just applied for social security disability a couple of weeks ago online and just got my approval letter yesterday. They actually helped me out and counted the end of may as my disability date since I only worked a couple of days in August. I fortunately have short term disability through IMRF but my health insurance premiums are horribly expensive. We also re-negotiate our health insurance every fiscal year which is coming up in December which usually means we are either switching companies or we are staying with the same company and our insurance rates are going up. There are some foundations that will help with premiums I just got $2,500 from Patient Advocacy Foundation and No Wooden Nickles is another one that offers a little financial support.

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