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My health insurance just renewed: up 30% to $181/month! But at least it was renewed!!!

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

My cancer treatment in late 2008 & all of 2009 cost my insurance company just under $300,000. I have private insurance because I own my own business, a Health Savings Account with Assurant Health. I have a $7,500 deductible that must be paid in full each year before they pay the first dime. I've paid that deductible 3 times: 2008, 2009, & 2010, so $22,500 out of pocket in deductibles. On top of that, I will now pay $181/month for my coverage, still a bargain compared to what my insurance company pays out!! But what do people do that don't have that kind of money??? Anyone else care to share their insurance woes?

I honestly can't blame my insurance company for wanting more money from me. But I have to find fault with the drug companies and the hospital, who see 'private insurance' and leap on the opportunity to grab some extra money. My Neupogen shots, which I've gotten every Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday for the last 7 weeks are billed by the hospital at $1500 EACH, and my insurance 'settles' with them at $1200 each! $3,600 week and that doesn't even count my CHEMO! And I am in and out in 5 minutes with a tech giving me the shot!

I am terrified about the proposed national health care plan, but somewhere here we have to get a handle on these crazy costs!

pjba11's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Nov 2008

Like you we have private insurance since we have a Real Estate business and farm. My premium is just under $800.00 a month and I am sure will rise again this year. My husbands is even higher. How long can we keep paying this? ... God only knows each month if we can keep doing this.

Kaleena's picture
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

We too own our own business. My husband was diagnosed with sleep apena in 2000. My surgeries and cancer treatment started in 2005. We currently pay $1,400 a month for a family plan with a $5200 deductible. I was just informed too that our premium will be increasing in July. Also that they are changing and dropping some of the plans.

I had two CT scans this year, two PET Scans (at $14,000 each) an MRI and a biopsy and now am scheduled for surgery February 5th and am not sure whether or not I will need radiation therapy and/or chemo after that. Plus I still have my port in and have it flushed every month.

Further, my son was hospitalized at the end of October for six days with bilateral pneumonia (possible swine flu). My other two sons are in high school.

Further, when you own your own business, we get charged 50% for self-employment tax. We got rid of all other employees. Now it is just my husband and I. However, I recently had to train someone while I recover from my upcoming surgery.

I am tired of being penalized because you own your own business. Further, I have one son as a freshman in college and two more coming up! Now they want to pass a bill to charge a 1% fee on top of your college tuition to help the city recover (of course that is being fought with)


Lisa 00
Posts: 134
Joined: Jul 2009

My insurance has not gone up at all. I just paid my premium for the next 3 months and it is the same as before. Like you, Linda, I pay about 175 per month on an individual policy that I bought back in 2000 when I was healthy. My deductable is 5000 a year and I only reached that level once last year when this all started. I consider myself very lucky that I bought that policy with blue cross when i did. It's probably the smartest thing I ever did besides buying an individual disability policy which I now collect on because of heart disease. Yes, I have cardiomyopathy as well as having been though cancer. All by the time I was 40. Some people just aren't built as strongly as others, in my opinion.

Songflower's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Apr 2009

I agree something has to change. My Gyn Onc changed plans and couldn't get her son covered because Asperger's syndrome is a pre-exisiting condition!

I believe small businesses shouldn't be penalized with high costs. We need jobs and small businesses could stimulate the economy by hiring more workers!

When I sat in chemo I looked at all the women; some were ill and had to go back to work soon after chemo (I mean a day or two) for health insurance. They were alone; divorced or single and no one else to lean on. As a country we should be able to help out individuals with such devastating illnesses. My insurance as a one million dollar cap; I've had breast and now UPSC and I can't imagine how much I"ve already used up.

We definitely need change. The insurance companies must be doing allright as they certainly are not asking for bail outs!


daisy366's picture
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Excellent topic, ladies!!!! Thanks for bringing this up, Linda.

Read the book "The Healing of America" by T.R. Reid. It's hot off the press (2009) and clearly explains health care throughout the WORLD. The author (a journalist not a politician or newsreporter) went all around the world and personally experienced other countries' health care.

Ready for a scary statistic?? The US ranks 10th in infant mortality rates worldwide (2005 stat) yet we spend more than any other developed country for health care. The US System is the laughing stock of the WORLD!! We get less and pay more. 45 million are uninsured and luckily Linda can scrape up money for her premium. How many of our sisters are DYING because they don't have the money for treatment. This is a crime!!! I have to keep working fulltime (which is probably not good for me and my UPSC) because I need my health insurance. I, and others I've talked too, would be interested to buy into medicare early - but that is dead in the water now.

Too bad this reform has been infused with scare tactics about "socialized medicine" - probably fueled by FOR PROFIT insurance companies and disgruntled polarized political types that are too prejudiced and maybe scared to look at the facts. Be educated. Read this book!!!!

Mary Ann

Posts: 572
Joined: Oct 2009

I lost my job 2 months before my diagnosis. And of course I put off going to the doctor to find out why I was bleeding between periods due to my long work hours and I thought it was just menopause.
I am paying COBRA premium of $550 per month but there is now a federal subsidy so my premium is $200. I am not sure how long the subsidy will last. I have been paying COBRA since January 2009. COBRA insurance is only available to me for a total of 18 months and then I will be uninsured unless I am able to get a job again.

It has been a blessing not to be working through all of what we have all been going through. Fortunately I have been able to sell stock that I own to live on as a supplement to the $2000 per month unemployment insurance I get. I too was hoping to be able to buy into medicare with healthcare reform. Something has to be done about the uninsured and the costs of healthcare. I have a $5 million dollar cap and $4000 out of pocket per calander year. So will have paid $8000 out of pocket in 13 months. The number one cause of bankrupcy in the US is medical bills! Now we all know why.

Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

Luckily my premium did not raise significantly. When we retired early we went with a Blue Cross Plan. Both my husband and I had been very healthy, and never used our insurance, so we went with a high deductible ($10,000). My husband says they cannot raise an individual, but can raise the whole group who have that type of individual plan. My health care costs for 2009 were billed at $206,000 and the insurance paid $112,000. That is quite a difference between billed and what was allowed. This included my Robotic Surgery, 6 chemo treatments, 28 external radiation treatments, and a overnight hospital stay for the internal radiation, a 7 day hospital stay for Febrile Neutropenia, port placement, and repositioning of the port, 3 CAT scans and lab work, and physician follow-ups. It would be very devastating to not have insurance.

Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2004

I really don't know why the Health debate over here scares everyone.

My aunt who is 78 this year, discovered in the middle of last year that she had bladder cancer. She was immediately treated and followed up with chemo. Unfortunately, in her follow up exam last week, it was discovered that another patch had appeared on the other side of the bladder wall. She was operated on this Monday and will be getting further chemo treatment and any other treatment the doctors decide for her. The cost to her - nothing because she lives in the UK. It is not a free health care, they pay what is called a national insurance stamp up until they retire. That covers health care and what is called social security in the event that you become unemployed or other circumstances like cancer prevent you from working. Her care has been excellent.

My mother lives in France and all the time she has been there, her treatment has been excellent, probably better than the UK. She has to take out a government approved insurance plan of which there are several and pays a co-pay whenever she or my Dad visit the doctor or hospital. Once they have been treated, the government reimburses the insurance company and my parents get their co-pay back (or most of it). They have never had to wait for treatment and are delighted in the care they receive.

It is a very sad reflection on a society when a country chooses not to support the youngest, oldest and sickest people in its community.

Posts: 145
Joined: Sep 2009

NZ. Our family has health insurance as you do not have to wait for a hospital bed. Ring up/on line to insurance - get schedule number and that's it! Operation a week after cancer diagnosis, private hospital/room etc.
Free after that. 6 weeks radiotherapy. As I live 2.5 hours from the city facility I lived in the Cancer motel during the week [5 star, available for general public if rooms available] being driven there by the local hospital service so family not inconvenienced. I have a check every three months, with CT scans every 6 months, and as I travel to the city 6 monthly I could apply for travel/accommodation reimbursement if I wished.

I think that if good procedures are in place a change in the health system is not too much of a concern. I certainly did not have the additional worry and stress that comes with having to organise finance and having family change schedules etc - as that was what bothered me most.

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