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Financial Matters - health insurance

Jamie1.3cm
Jamie1.3cm Member Posts: 188
edited August 2011 in Kidney Cancer #1
I've had a chronic disease my entire life, so I'm familiar with the importance of being financially savvy about health issues. I'm neither an insurance agent nor an attorney, but thought we all might benefit from some tips. Assumptions: You are a US citizen between the ages of 18-65, not covered by Medicare, or 18-26 not covered on your parent's policy.

Things you should know:

Tip 1: Keep your health insurance. Never assume that you're fine now, even if you are. Even just the history of previous cancer can bar you from future coverage.

Tip 2: If you lose your job (or get divorced and lose coverage), COBRA your current health insurance for as long as possible, 18-36 months depending on the situation. It's expensive, $300-400/month for one person is common, but that's less expensive than having a gap in coverage.

Tip 3: When you get a new job, you get all sorts of new health care opportunities you may have missed before. First, companies are required to cover you under group coverage, regardless of pre-existing conditions -- that's the beauty of group insurance. (You will no longer qualify for individual insurance.) But be sure to note any waiting periods. Some companies "opt out" of the requirement of providing "continuous coverage" to anyone who came in with health insurance from their previous job or COBRA. Continue COBRA through any waiting periods. Because it will be new coverage, you can get long-term health care and short & longer-term disability without having to provide EOI, Evidence of Insurability (proof of good health, no previous diagnoses). Take advantage of those opportunities when first offered. You won't be able to add them later unless you can prove EOI, which you can't.

Tip 4: While most people are covered by SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance), if you are a teacher, judge, or other govt employee, you may have had to waive your rights to social security in order to participate in your pension plan, hence the importance of longer-term disability and long-term care insurance.

Tip 5: If you do lose your insurance because you don't work full-time or your COBRA has expired, you may be able to find group insurnace in unexpected places. College alumni associations typically offer group health insurance. Faith-based organizations, professional associations, volunteer organizations, chambers of commerce, and similar entities often offer group health insurance for their members.

Tip 6: Some states offer High Risk Insurance Pools to people with serious diseases. These are great insurance policies with liberal benefits, but they can be extremely expensive. I think I was paying $600/month several years ago. But since my monthly medications alone were close to $1000/month without insurance, it was well worth it. It paid for itself.

Tip 7: Even if you do have good insurance through work, COBRA, or an association, play it smart financially. At some point, you will not only reach your annual deductible, but you will also reach your out-of-pocket expense limit. Exploit that. Once you've paid out all your insurance requires you pay out annually, get anything else done that same fiscal year. For example, I had my kidney surgery in June. My doctor wanted my first follow-up ct scan in early January. Nope, it's going to be in late December. It makes no sense to do something for thousands of dollars in early January that could be done at no expense in late December.

Future health care reforms could change this info favorably, but I wouldn't count on it. The most vocal Americans these days seem least interested in helping the ill and uninsured. Be prepared to protect yourself as much as possible.

Comments

  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,357 **
    Health Insurance
    As a senior citizen I could say that I do not care about Health Insurance because I am over 65 and on Medicare. However unlike some politicians out there I do care about others besides myself even though some on the right call that socialism. It would be a shame if the teabaggers take over and our country goes from caring for all as opposed to only giving the job creators more tax cuts. More than a few of our fellow RCC members will not be able to get the surgery they need to save there lives if we do not have universal heath coverage. Those of you who do not care about others are free to disagree.

    Icemantoo
  • Jamie1.3cm
    Jamie1.3cm Member Posts: 188
    icemantoo said:

    Health Insurance
    As a senior citizen I could say that I do not care about Health Insurance because I am over 65 and on Medicare. However unlike some politicians out there I do care about others besides myself even though some on the right call that socialism. It would be a shame if the teabaggers take over and our country goes from caring for all as opposed to only giving the job creators more tax cuts. More than a few of our fellow RCC members will not be able to get the surgery they need to save there lives if we do not have universal heath coverage. Those of you who do not care about others are free to disagree.

    Icemantoo

    Amen to that
    Did you see the story a couple years ago about the tea-bagger founding member who railed against govt providing health insurance for people. And then she had some major surgery -- hip, possibly -- and guess who paid for it? Yep, you got it: the federal govt.

    So what she REALLY meant to say was that it's ok for HER to have federal health insurance benefits, but not anyone else.
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235
    icemantoo said:

    Health Insurance
    As a senior citizen I could say that I do not care about Health Insurance because I am over 65 and on Medicare. However unlike some politicians out there I do care about others besides myself even though some on the right call that socialism. It would be a shame if the teabaggers take over and our country goes from caring for all as opposed to only giving the job creators more tax cuts. More than a few of our fellow RCC members will not be able to get the surgery they need to save there lives if we do not have universal heath coverage. Those of you who do not care about others are free to disagree.

    Icemantoo

    Politics?
    As somebody who for the last two years has had to pay $2,200 a month for my and my wife's health insurance until we are eligible for Medicare, I am certainly not one who opposes health care reform. I don't believe that people should be dying in a country as great as ours (once was) because of lack of health insurance. However, to single out a new political movement, of which I am NOT a member but some of whose goals I agree with, as the villain here is bit naive. After all, our health care problems go back decades and both parties have had ample opportunity to resolve them but chose instead to put them on the backburner for years, as they have with other burning issues. I'm also not thrilled with the implication here that if somebody disagrees with one's political views that person must not care about others. There is plenty of complacency, on both sides of the political fence, by those who have adequate health insurance for themselves and their families and who are not at all concerned by others' lack of the same.
  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,357 **
    MikeK703 said:

    Politics?
    As somebody who for the last two years has had to pay $2,200 a month for my and my wife's health insurance until we are eligible for Medicare, I am certainly not one who opposes health care reform. I don't believe that people should be dying in a country as great as ours (once was) because of lack of health insurance. However, to single out a new political movement, of which I am NOT a member but some of whose goals I agree with, as the villain here is bit naive. After all, our health care problems go back decades and both parties have had ample opportunity to resolve them but chose instead to put them on the backburner for years, as they have with other burning issues. I'm also not thrilled with the implication here that if somebody disagrees with one's political views that person must not care about others. There is plenty of complacency, on both sides of the political fence, by those who have adequate health insurance for themselves and their families and who are not at all concerned by others' lack of the same.

    No apologies offered
    I feel strongly that there is a movement in this country that wants to take us backwords on not only heath insurance, but social security and medicare as well. I also feel strongly that those people do not care about others and to them we are embarking on Socialism. As a Kidney Cancer survivor I believe I have a right to voice my opinion and part of that opinion is the far right (teabaggers) do not care about the common good, only themselves and those wealthy persons who bankroll them. Those persons also brag that they do not believe in compromise. It is to those persons and those who sympathise with them that my comments were directed. No apologies offered.

    Icemantoo
  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,357 **
    MikeK703 said:

    Politics?
    As somebody who for the last two years has had to pay $2,200 a month for my and my wife's health insurance until we are eligible for Medicare, I am certainly not one who opposes health care reform. I don't believe that people should be dying in a country as great as ours (once was) because of lack of health insurance. However, to single out a new political movement, of which I am NOT a member but some of whose goals I agree with, as the villain here is bit naive. After all, our health care problems go back decades and both parties have had ample opportunity to resolve them but chose instead to put them on the backburner for years, as they have with other burning issues. I'm also not thrilled with the implication here that if somebody disagrees with one's political views that person must not care about others. There is plenty of complacency, on both sides of the political fence, by those who have adequate health insurance for themselves and their families and who are not at all concerned by others' lack of the same.

    No apologies offered
    I feel strongly that there is a movement in this country that wants to take us backwords on not only heath insurance, but social security and medicare as well. I also feel strongly that those people do not care about others and to them we are embarking on Socialism. As a Kidney Cancer survivor I believe I have a right to voice my opinion and part of that opinion is the far right (teabaggers) do not care about the common good, only themselves and those wealthy persons who bankroll them. Those persons also brag that they do not believe in compromise. It is to those persons and those who sympathise with them that my comments were directed. No apologies offered.

    Icemantoo
  • MikeK703
    MikeK703 Member Posts: 235
    icemantoo said:

    No apologies offered
    I feel strongly that there is a movement in this country that wants to take us backwords on not only heath insurance, but social security and medicare as well. I also feel strongly that those people do not care about others and to them we are embarking on Socialism. As a Kidney Cancer survivor I believe I have a right to voice my opinion and part of that opinion is the far right (teabaggers) do not care about the common good, only themselves and those wealthy persons who bankroll them. Those persons also brag that they do not believe in compromise. It is to those persons and those who sympathise with them that my comments were directed. No apologies offered.

    Icemantoo

    No Apologies Needed
    None needed. As an American, you have a right to your opinion, kidney cancer survivor or not. I'm not going to get into a political argument as there are more appropriate places for that.
  • lbinmsp
    lbinmsp Member Posts: 266
    Good points
    Hi Jamie - thank you! All of us in this RCC family come here for comfort and support as well as looking for answers and suggestions. You make some good points here and have provided good information for many. However, I've seen other sites that veer off onto other 'platforms' and I certainly hope that can be avoided here.
  • corey50
    corey50 Member Posts: 111
    icemantoo said:

    Health Insurance
    As a senior citizen I could say that I do not care about Health Insurance because I am over 65 and on Medicare. However unlike some politicians out there I do care about others besides myself even though some on the right call that socialism. It would be a shame if the teabaggers take over and our country goes from caring for all as opposed to only giving the job creators more tax cuts. More than a few of our fellow RCC members will not be able to get the surgery they need to save there lives if we do not have universal heath coverage. Those of you who do not care about others are free to disagree.

    Icemantoo

    HEALTH INSURANCE
    they are not tea-baggers, but tea partiers.
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    lbinmsp said:

    Good points
    Hi Jamie - thank you! All of us in this RCC family come here for comfort and support as well as looking for answers and suggestions. You make some good points here and have provided good information for many. However, I've seen other sites that veer off onto other 'platforms' and I certainly hope that can be avoided here.

    WOW!!
    Nothing stirs the fire like politics and religion. I am not affiliated with any particular party and am pretty fed up with government in general. In my opinion until our illustrious "leaders" are no longer exempt from the consequences of the laws and reforms they pen no meaningful progress will ever be made regardless of the issue. The "entitlement" attitude of serve one term and retire with full pay and the best benefits tax payer money can buy is the cancer that eats at our nation from within. It is our fault, we continue to elect these bums. I pray for a voter revolution of epic proportions and hope to live long enough to see it.

    Just my 2 cents (and 2 cents ain't worth much anymore),

    Gary
  • Kirby1831
    Kirby1831 Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2018 #11
    RCC Pathology report

    Greetings to everyone! I had my Robotic Assist Partial Nephrectomy in Oct 2017.  I had two tumors removed. One was RCC and the other was Epitheliod angiomyolipomas. I was told told everything went well and the the Dr removed all the cancer.  One day I was having some very bad pain in my flank area and decided to look at pathology report in VERY DEATAIL.  The two items below are on my report (verbatim) and have me a little concerned....

    MARGINS: INVOLVED BY INVASIVE CARCINOMA, RENAL PARENCHYMAL MARGIN.

    NOTE: Epitheliod angiomyolipomas are considered to be malignant neoplasmas with the capacit to be locally aggressive and metastasize.  close clinical follow up is recommended.

     

    Everything I've researched shows if the margins are involved/positive then cancer is still in the body.  Does anyone have any advice/experience with this?  PLEASE SHARE.   

     

  • stub1969
    stub1969 Member Posts: 933 **
    Welcome, Kirby

    I want to assure you that having positive margines doesn't necessarily mean you will have reoccurrence.  My pathology report from my surgery in August '16 showed that I had microscopic positive margins on a small part of my tumor.  I contacted my surgical team right away and talked to them about my concerns.  They assured me that in the cauterization process as they cut they were sure it killed any remaining cancer cells.  Nevertheless I pushed for a more rigorous scan schedule and got it.  I'm still NED and will be talking to my surgeon at my next scans in May about moving to annual scans and genetic testing.  While all this was going on I did a lot of research in medical journals and they point to the fact that reccurraence rates are not out of line with people with negative margins.  Although I still worry about this as scans approach, It's not nearly as bad as it was for my first set of scans.

    I encourage you to talk to your surgeon about your concerns and dig a little in the research.  I think you'll feel better.

    Stub

  • Kirby1831
    Kirby1831 Member Posts: 14
    stub1969 said:

    Welcome, Kirby

    I want to assure you that having positive margines doesn't necessarily mean you will have reoccurrence.  My pathology report from my surgery in August '16 showed that I had microscopic positive margins on a small part of my tumor.  I contacted my surgical team right away and talked to them about my concerns.  They assured me that in the cauterization process as they cut they were sure it killed any remaining cancer cells.  Nevertheless I pushed for a more rigorous scan schedule and got it.  I'm still NED and will be talking to my surgeon at my next scans in May about moving to annual scans and genetic testing.  While all this was going on I did a lot of research in medical journals and they point to the fact that reccurraence rates are not out of line with people with negative margins.  Although I still worry about this as scans approach, It's not nearly as bad as it was for my first set of scans.

    I encourage you to talk to your surgeon about your concerns and dig a little in the research.  I think you'll feel better.

    Stub

    Hi Stub,

    Hi Stub,

    Thank you so much for sharing. I have a follow up appt next week.

  • CRashster
    CRashster Member Posts: 241
    corey50 said:

    HEALTH INSURANCE
    they are not tea-baggers, but tea partiers.

    Tea baggers?

    really? We went there?