Insurance Questions

llabc
llabc Member Posts: 6
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
First time poster. Need to know where I can find the best (most accurate and straight-forward) resources for questions about health insurance issues. Like many others, as a result of my illness and treatment last year, I have lost my job. The employer is having financial difficulty, so I have been informed that COBRA will probably only last a short time. I'd welcome recommendations.
Thanks

Comments

  • epgnyc
    epgnyc Member Posts: 137
    Oh boy, I really feel for you. I don't really have much specific information for you, but I wanted to say....hang in there! I am Manager of Human Resources at my company and am in charge of obtaining and administering our medical plan. If you do lose COBRA, only a couple of solutions come to mind. One is to get another job with medical insurance as soon as possible. I realize this is often easier said than done. But even if you had to take a much lower salary or a lesser job, it would be worth it to get the medical (I know someone who did this). I believe that as a new hire you will be enrolled "no questions asked" and cannot be denied health insurance. Because of HIPAA regulations, you have some protection for pre-existing conditions (in this case, your breast cancer). I believe that if you have prior health insurance with no breaks in coverage for 60 days, any limitations for pre-existing conditions will either be eliminated or negligible. Otherwise, you will not be considered to have a pre-existing condition if you haven't been treated for your cancer in at least 6 months. If you have received treatment within 6 months, I believe they can deny coverage for that condition for a period of 12 months. But check it out. If you were fully disabled - and it doesn't sound like you are - you would be able to qualify for Medicaid as well as Social Security disability payments. If you qualified for welfare in your state (increasingly difficult), you would also be covered under Medicaid. Anyway, just a few things to think about. I swear it's bad enough we got cancer, but then to have to worry about having health insurance to deal with that cancer is too much! We need a new health insurance system in this country. Best of luck.
    Ellen
  • llabc
    llabc Member Posts: 6
    epgnyc said:

    Oh boy, I really feel for you. I don't really have much specific information for you, but I wanted to say....hang in there! I am Manager of Human Resources at my company and am in charge of obtaining and administering our medical plan. If you do lose COBRA, only a couple of solutions come to mind. One is to get another job with medical insurance as soon as possible. I realize this is often easier said than done. But even if you had to take a much lower salary or a lesser job, it would be worth it to get the medical (I know someone who did this). I believe that as a new hire you will be enrolled "no questions asked" and cannot be denied health insurance. Because of HIPAA regulations, you have some protection for pre-existing conditions (in this case, your breast cancer). I believe that if you have prior health insurance with no breaks in coverage for 60 days, any limitations for pre-existing conditions will either be eliminated or negligible. Otherwise, you will not be considered to have a pre-existing condition if you haven't been treated for your cancer in at least 6 months. If you have received treatment within 6 months, I believe they can deny coverage for that condition for a period of 12 months. But check it out. If you were fully disabled - and it doesn't sound like you are - you would be able to qualify for Medicaid as well as Social Security disability payments. If you qualified for welfare in your state (increasingly difficult), you would also be covered under Medicaid. Anyway, just a few things to think about. I swear it's bad enough we got cancer, but then to have to worry about having health insurance to deal with that cancer is too much! We need a new health insurance system in this country. Best of luck.
    Ellen

    Thank you, Ellen! What a kind and thoughtful response! I appreciate the ability to benefit from your experience. It was a long night last night :-) I found some cancer survivorship web sites that also provided some information that calmed me down--just as your response has. I plan on getting back to work quickly. I could not agree with you more, concerning our need for a new health insurance system. I wish you all the best, and thank you, again for your kindness!
  • hummingbyrd
    hummingbyrd Member Posts: 950 Member
    llabc said:

    Thank you, Ellen! What a kind and thoughtful response! I appreciate the ability to benefit from your experience. It was a long night last night :-) I found some cancer survivorship web sites that also provided some information that calmed me down--just as your response has. I plan on getting back to work quickly. I could not agree with you more, concerning our need for a new health insurance system. I wish you all the best, and thank you, again for your kindness!

    A couple of things that may help...
    COBRA should last a maximum of 18 months, and if you live in a town with a County Hospital get all labs, x-rays, even chemo treatments done there as opposed to docs office or independant lab, x-ray facility. County hospitals can usually put you into a 'sliding pay scale' where as private facilities don't offer that, and if most of your work is done in one location that cuts down on the number of different bills you receive. I swear if you get lab done by a private facility you'll get 3 bills, one from doc, one from lab and one from doc at the lab!
    The other good thing about a county facility is that no matter how big the bill you can send them $50 per month, they divide it up anyway they like and there is no interest charges so DON"T ever let them talk you into using a credit card.
    Last suggestion, if you know anyone where you have a med bill, see if they will cut you a deal. One hospital called me the other day and said my balance was $300, I said keep sending me a bill, I'll send the $50. They said well today and today only if you pay in full we will take $150 off and call it even. I said sold to the billing lady who could sell used cars! LOL

    Oh, another funny, I told one of my docs, one thing is for sure, we will all be dead before I get this bill paid off. Next time I went in he had talked to his MD boss and they WROTE OFF my balance! Can you believe? I guess they weren't ready to die any more than I was and that was back in 2001. LOL
    One last thing, sure it is ;) For meds ask your doc, lots of times they have samples and can get you hooked up with the drug dealers (legal pharmaceutical drug companies; boy now that's an oxymoron LOL)
    Oh, somebody get the butter, hummers on a roll. :) Any ways, they have programs to get drugs at a discount if you qualify and you'd be surprised at who qualifies. I don't think even $50,000 a year will get you cut off in some cases.
    OK, enough info and comedy routine. Hope this helps! (((HUGS))) hummingbyrd
  • 24242
    24242 Member Posts: 1,398
    I am sorry you must face this insurance crisis at a time you need your energy for other things like fighting. One must not fill their time with worry for it can't help you in the long run. I am so glad that there are so many on this site who have good practicle exeriences to bring forward. I know that your situation will improve in time as some of ours have, working out in the end. I had just started a job and hadn't worked I don't think 6 full months when diagnosed and needed 1500 hours to be considered full time and covered medically. I had just 1512 to my amazement since I hadn't worked overtime or anything. I worried long and hard on this making myself even sicker than I was already. I hope your outcome is truly better than mine was.
    Take good care of yourself,
    Tara
  • llabc
    llabc Member Posts: 6
    Thanks to all of you--for your information, kindness and support. I'm doing well, and will get on with it. I greatly appreciate the support.

    God Bless
  • lori12946
    lori12946 Member Posts: 10
    HI. Like you I eventually was terminated from my position. Fortunately my position was unofficially held for me until I could return. I was drawing disability payment so my income was low enough to qualify me for medicaid assistance. Sometimes medicaid will pay your cobra payment for you as it is in their best interest to pay the premiums as opposed to the medical expenses which you know are more than you could have ever imagined. Ask them about it.Also a lot of hospitals have charity funding for people who have no insurance and do not qualify for medicaid. As for the remaining bills you pay what you can afford . As long as you pay in most state they cannot harass you or turn to collection. Also now as anew hire there is not usually a preexisting condition to pick up new health insurance. Good luck as I know it is overwhelming enough just to deal with the medical issues. Take care Lori