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Health Insurance When Leaving the Corporate World?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the hey-that-could-be-useful dept.

Medicine 1197

An anonymous reader writes "I've been working at a large company since I got out of college, so I didn't have to give much thought to getting my own healthcare plan. Now I'm thinking about leaving the corporate world and starting out on my own. I have a family now, so I need to make sure we're going to be covered should anything happen. Researching online turns up horror stories of people trying to get individual healthcare plans, or getting denied coverage on plans they thought they had. Does anyone else have experience going through this and what you've had to deal with, or am I making too big a deal of it?"

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1197 comments

Easy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230566)

Move to the UK or another country that cares

Step 1. (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230592)

Move to any 1st world country not the USA.
There is no step 2.

Re:Step 1. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230630)

Yes, he can go to Canada. And wait 6 months for an MRI.

Re:Step 1. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230818)

Or stay in USA and pay $100,000 for it, where you can work five jobs to pay your debt while you recuperate.

Re:Step 1. (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230836)

You know, all the Canadian health care bashing really gets to me.

I needed a physical within the week since I was immigrating to the United States, and wanted to make sure that the actual immigration medical wouldn't reveal that I needed additional vaccinations (since the US doctors charge for it). My family doctor was able to provide it in three days.

Now, that's a fairly trivial story, but it highlights the fact that if you need care, they will prioritize you and give you the care you need when you need it.

My dad needed to have a stent put in as he had a buildup in one of the arteries near his heart. He was scheduled for it for a few months out, went in as scheduled, and had the procedure done.

A day later and he started having chest pains. The hospital told him to come back and they had another stent put in THAT DAY. He's fine now.

No questions about insurance, no bills, no nothing. He got the care he needed, when he needed it.

Single payer works. I just wish that people here in the US could be convinced of that... unfortunately they've been bashed over the head with the idea that it's somehow "communist" or "socialist", which translates to "evil" to most people here.

Re:Step 1. (5, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230982)

Single payer works.

...in Canada and certain other countries.

As a USA-ian, even I have had excellent interaction with the Canadian health system due to an unfortunate but minor accident a few years ago.

Given the lack of wisdom in Washington DC these days, the political power of the AMA, the AARP, the various Lawyers groups and the insurance industry, I can't imagine how a functional, usable equivalent could possibly get instituted here without screwing up healthcare (and killing people) for a decade.

Re:Step 1. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230902)

Or stay in the US and not get an MRI at all because he has no insurance.

Or, hey, maybe he'll get "lucky" and get the MRI despite not having insurance (only because the hospital fears liability more than deadbeats). Then later he'll get an outrageous bill he can't afford to pay and have his credit ruined.

But God forbid he should have to wait!

Re:Step 1. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230964)

Stop that. Really. It's pointless. Oh, long wait in Canada for inexpensive health care, rah bah bah.

And when you ask a Canuck, why there's a wait, they say, "So other people with bigger problems can go first".

Re:Step 1. (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230676)

Truth. If you have a family, stay in your job, unless you're already rich.

One could argue that the US health insurance system is set up to avoid having people do what you're trying to do.

Re:Step 1. (5, Interesting)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230880)

I quit my job in Denver in 1999 and move to Toronto. I felt a huge weight lift from my shoulders: no longer was I trapped in my job, and no longer did I have to fear illness ruining my and my family's lives.

Re:Step 1. (5, Interesting)

Publikwerks (885730) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231128)

Nahh, your screwed either way.

I worked for a large corporation. Not huge, but large enough to find shortcuts to covering employees. Instead of having insurance, they acted as the insurer and had Aetna act as a "manager" of the plan. Not only was this cheaper for them, they got out of all the regulations governing insurance. I had a kid, and they denied coverage because he wasn't a member at the time of his receiving care. But, I couldn't make him a member without a birthdate, so I fought with them for months. They I got canned, and lost access to mechanism to continuing fighting.

Long story short: State bureau of insurance couldn't do anything. Hospital hit me with $5,000 in bills, and the corporation probably got a tax write off.

I used to be capitalist until I saw capitalism in action.

Re:Step 1. (5, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230828)

FYI, in the U.S., you can buy health insurance at a discount by joining either a freelancer's union [freelancersunion.org] or your local Chamber of Commerce. I did the latter when I was freelance. Most CoC's offer health insurance packages to their members at group rates, e.g. lower than what you'd pay directly. Still expensive, though. You definitely need to factor that into your budget.

-1 Troll and Uninsightful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230864)

These responses of move to "XYZ" or move out of the US that are modded "insightful" is simple flamebait and does not help the questioner or add anything new to the discussion.

We get it, lefties. You don't like the US's health care system. Get over it. This guy is not going to move out of the USA simply because of health insurance.

Re:-1 Troll and Uninsightful (3, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230956)

I'm sorry, I missed the bit where you had constructive advice to offer to the poster.

Re:Step 1. (3, Interesting)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230876)

Since you are probably in the US the easiest place to move to would probability be Canada.
And from what I understand you could still even work in the US, and getting heath care insurance for the US from Canada is very cheap.

Re:Step 1. (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230990)

.5. Call up your local congressman and say youhave to leave the country to get health care as he doesnt care about the people he represents.

Seriously the reason one in six americans don't have coverage is based on the lasttime congress tried to straighten up healthcare. I fully expect the republicans to screw it up thistime too.

LLC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230600)

I've been told that forming a single-member LLC can lead to qualifying for group insurance and will prevent denial for 'pre-existing conditions', but i can't vouch for it. more research is warranted.

Re:LLC (1)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230886)

Small group insurance isn't much better than the individual market.
The OP's best bet is to take advantage of COBRA, as s/he is still employed. By law, you can only be charged a 2% administrative fee over the cost your company pays for the plan. COBRA covers Medical, Dental, Vision and even your FSA plan. An alternative is to look into something like the Freelancers Union [freelancersunion.org]
A friend looking coming close to the 18 month mandatory limit of COBRA (most people) , took an admin job for the benefits, stayed long enough to begin coverage and eligibility for COBRA, and quit. It reset the clock and he is now eligible for COBRA through the new plan.

or move to canada!

Re:LLC (3, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231126)

Small group insurance is _much_ better than individual because group policies -- even for just two people -- must be issued. Individuals can be turned away but groups cannot. At least that's the law in California.

High Deductible Insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230894)

Get a High Deductible Insurance plan and an Health Savings Account.

Getting into nutritional medicine would also be a very good idea (most diseases we get here in the US are due to poor nutrition and for the most part all our health care industry does is treat the symptoms).

You're fucked (4, Informative)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230606)

Good luck. Depending on what state you live in, you are either well and truly fucked, or deeply, seriously fucked.

The best thing you can do is start a trivial corporation, hire on some fake employees, and then get a group plan.

Re:You're fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230994)

Well the fake employees are a very bad idea.

OP I am going to assume you are in the USA, it would be a good idea to make that clear. This is a massive can of worms for just one person it is simple to get an individual plan. As you have a family it is much more complicated and can easily get more expensive then anything a normal person can pay for. As much as I hate haveing to suggest it you need to talk to someone that knows insurance, inside and out, forwards and backwards or you WILL endup screwed along with your family.

Also be very very careful with start and end dates. As much as everyone would like to go out on thier own, when a family is involved that is not always a possibilty. Again you been much more information, far more. Try to get insurance on your own for a family is not something to be taken lightly. It can be fiscally akin to buying a house.

I thought the plan was irrelevant (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231024)

They only pay out in a fraction of cases, no matter the circumstances. Somewhere round 50% or so. Then they hit the corp up for costs later as well.

 

Move to Canada (4, Informative)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230608)

and enjoy universal health care for about $100 per month for a family of 4, unless you can show economic hardship, and then it's free.

Re:Move to Canada (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230644)

and enjoy universal health care for about $100 per month for a family of 4, unless you can show economic hardship, and then it's free.

BUT THE DEATH PANELS!!!

Re:Move to Canada (4, Interesting)

Scoria (264473) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230944)

I'm pretty sure the parent post was meant in jest. But, at the same time, the United States might be the only developed nation in which such a huge chunk of the population could be so blindly frightened and misinformed. How the people formed such a masochistic relationship with the big corporations -- one so strong that they'll stand in the street and protest against their own interests -- is beyond me.

Maybe this entire American health care "debate" could be summarized with an infamous quote from a man protesting a perceived intrusion on his lifestyle by Obama: "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!"

Re:Move to Canada (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230768)

And wait 6 months for an MRI.

Re:Move to Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230868)

Not true, my father had a seizure and they got him an MRI the next day.

Re:Move to Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230896)

How's that worse than not getting a MRI at all?

Re:Move to Canada (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231036)

Yeah and? If a condition is not life threatening then you can wait. IF a condition is life threatening then either you get it immediately or you get a CAT scan (which is faster most of the times)

Re:Move to Canada (4, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230772)

Depends on the province; it's often free no matter what your situation is. Contrary to Republican scare ads, it's also of excellent quality provided that you don't go to the emergency room for a cold or a stubbed toe.

Re:Move to Canada (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230802)

I am curious which provinces still charge a monthly premium. They've been dropped in Alberta, and I thought our system was the exception (in having said fees), rather than the rule...

Re:Move to Canada (0, Troll)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230874)

and enjoy universal health care for about $100 per month for a family of 4, unless you can show economic hardship, and then it's free.

This drivel is modded "informative"?

Seriously? I don't know who's a more deluded, the OP, or the people who modded him.

Let's see - at $25/person/month , that's $25*12* 33'000'000 (population of Canada) = $9.9 billion US ~ $10 billion US

Total healthcare spending in Canada last year was $160 billion or so. So $10 billion was paid by the people, and the other $150 billion was magically wished into existence by healthcare fairies... that only grace the "good" countries with their presence.

There are plenty of problems to be addressed within the healthcare system of the US to be sure... but every time someone from Canada or UK (or more frequently, a troll from the US) buts into a conversation, droning on about "free" healthcare, I feel like smashing their face in with an accounting ledger.

Re:Move to Canada (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230962)

First, over in UK/Canada, they would get better care unless you are wealthy in America.

Second, FEW say that health care is FREE. THey say that the costs AND INSURANCE PROFITS are not being passed directly to the consumer. Instead, the general taxes pay for it.

Re:Move to Canada (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231088)

THey say that the costs AND INSURANCE PROFITS are not being passed directly to the consumer. Instead, the general taxes pay for it.

So its indirectly passed directly to the consumer.

The problem with "emigrate now!" stock response (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230918)

But what should one do first to qualify for the Canadian counterpart to a green card?

Re:Move to Canada (5, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231008)

[Move to Canada] and enjoy universal health care for about $100 per month for a family of 4, unless you can show economic hardship, and then it's free.

With all due respect, and I really don't mean this as a troll, but you aren't just paying $100 a month -- you simply cannot afford any medical system for that sum (even if you weren't screwed like the States into paying stupid large administrative costs) . In reality, a large fraction of the money for the health care system comes from taxes which you are ultimately going to pay.

I am a big proponent of some form of public healthcare but I dislike the fact that many of the people here in the US that are arguing for it will not acknowledge that it's simply going to expensive. They point to the naive out-of-pocket expense in Canada or The Netherlands without acknowledging the true cost of the system in the form of higher taxes. My position is that we can and should afford such expense but one does not do any favors to the debate by dissembling about the cost. If anything, it's ammunition to opponents that can point to your dishonesty in selling the plan.

There is no free lunch and there is definitely no first-world healthcare for $100/family/month. The closer figure it probably $650/family/month. Again, I believe it's a fine way to spend that money (and we are affluent enough to afford it) so I'm not approaching this from a position of ideological opposition, only one of demanding honesty from everyone.

Cite: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_spe_per_per-health-spending-per-person [nationmaster.com]. The exact numbers are highly debatable, especially since we don't know how much various plans will change the cost structure here in the US but $100/f/m is simply unreasonable.

Re:Move to Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231118)

Look, the guy asks a serious question and most of what I see here are a bunch of snide comments about moving to another country or how #$!*ed he is. Can't you guys offer something useful? I mean, come on. He's not planning to be unemployed, he's planning to be self-employed. There have to be options that are reasonable, or what kind of messed-up healthcare industry is being run here? He *wants* to be a paying customer. Is there nowhere that will do business with him at a cost he can afford? Are things really that bad in the U.S. that an entrepreneur can't get healthcare insurance for their own family?

Sigh. Unfortunately I can't help because I *am* in Canada, and therefore haven't had to face this kind problem myself.

Ok, there's a couple [slashdot.org] of helpful comments [slashdot.org] further down, including:

"If you go about it in a cool, organized manner, you will find the coverage you need... but don't be alarmed when you have to pay at least $15'000/year for it."

Wow. Seriously? $15k? Suddenly my taxes don't seem higher at all.

You got 2 choices (5, Insightful)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230650)

1) Don't get sick
2) Die quickly

Disagree (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230844)

My recommendation is to get the minimum insurance you can possibly get, i.e. something that will only cover major accidents and health problems. Don't get maternity coverage. Don't worry about preventative care coverage. Try to put away at least $10k in the bank to cover normal health care costs. A pregnancy will probably cost twice that (3x if a C-section is needed) but at least you are half-way there.

I did the same for a while... (5, Interesting)

rapturizer (733607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230652)

I found that the local grocery stores were union and part time workers could get full benefits. After looking at the cost of insurance for my family, I worked as a grocery cashier 15 hours a week (a fun job actually), received full benefits (taking up most of that paycheck) until my wife went back to work where she has the benefits. Otherwise, I would have never left corporate life because of that single issue.

Re:I did the same for a while... (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230808)

received full benefits (taking up most of that paycheck)

So your insurance cost you 15 hours per week. That seems potentially expensive, depending on how much you could earn spending that time doing something else.

doesn't that make you boiling mad? (5, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230810)

if you're rich, you have no problem

if you're poor, you have medicaid, and you have no problem

only if you are a middle class citizen in the united states do you have no healthcare options, and have to do ridiculous gymnastics like the poster above

how the hell did we arrive at this retarded status quo and why the hell do teabaggers and republicans oppose simple common sense reform of a horrible stituation?

i can hear all of their criticism of socialized medicine. republicans, teabaggers: i accept and acknowledge all of your criticism of socialized medicine. BUT ITS BETTER THAN WHAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE. do you not see that?

when you oppose socialized medicine in the usa, because of all the evils of that you see, you merely support a MUCH WORSE STATUS QUO

are you resisting because you have a better solution? (crickets)

Re:doesn't that make you boiling mad? (2, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230884)

are you resisting because you have a better solution? (crickets)

No, they're resisting because they'll lose money.

Re:doesn't that make you boiling mad? (1)

jollespm (641870) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230984)

I've asked the same question and the response was basically "insurance is the problem, not the answer". Yes, while I agree health care costs seem outrageous in the US, until they are brought under control, health insurance is necessary if you don't want to go bankrupt when you get sick.

Re:I did the same for a while... (5, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230926)

If this doesn't highlight the problems with the US health insurance system, nothing will. You had to trade 15 hours a week of your life simply to be able to live a healthy life. That sounds an awful lot like indentured servitude to me.

Check with your local Chamber of Commerce (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230668)

When I was self-employed, I was able to get cheaper insurance through my local Chamber of Commerce. I had to join (and pay the membership fee), and it was still expensive, but nowhere near as bad as if I'd done it all by myself. And don't just limit it to your own town - a lot of them don't care where you live/work as long as you're close enough to be in the same general area :)

Try western Europe (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230690)

If you can get one of those countries to let you in, many of them have decent healthcare systems that don't tie you to a particular employer. I'm sure many of them are good, but Germany immediately comes to mind.

The problem is that to immigrate, many require you to either have a job waiting for you, or to be opening a business with some kind of (hard) guarantee of employing locals.

Re:Try western Europe (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231120)

Pretty much all of Europe has socialised universal health care, although in different forms but it's all free at the point of use. I love living in the civilised world.

So where've you been? (1, Insightful)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230692)

Did you just wake up from a 2 century nap or something? It's _always_ been a bitch getting health insurance without the help of an employer, and it's _always_ been the insurers' primary goal to make money by not paying your claims. Pardon my sarcasm, but you might want to subscribe to Newsweek or read a non-Slashtot blog now and again.

you're screwed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230694)

There is not much of a market for individual health plans in the US because of the tax advantage given to employer provided plans. McCain wanted to level the tax field by providing the same tax credit to plans purchased by individuals, but Obama lambasted him for proposing a 'tax increase.' McCain lost. Now Obama is proposing an explicit tax increase that is much worse, and still doesn't provide the same tax credit to plans purchased by individuals.

My suggestion? Stick with the corporate world and think about voting Republican next time.

Re:you're screwed (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230854)

McCain wanted to level the tax field by providing the same tax credit to plans purchased by individuals, but Obama lambasted him for proposing a 'tax increase.' McCain lost.

Are you on crack? Or do you just spend your time listening to liars without doing any fact-checking?

Insurance premiums for self-insurance are 100% tax deductible, provided you itemize your deductions and meet the minimum threshold (which is trivial considering how much insurance costs these days) -- they've been that way for decades.

Re:you're screwed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231012)

"Ordinarily medical expenses, including insurance premiums, are not tax deductible until they exceed 7.5% of your income."

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson16/ [cnn.com]

If you are self employed, you can deduct insurance premiums, but otherwise, you are out of luck.

I voted against the neocons (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231090)

Here's why I didn't vote for John McCain: In 2008, a rawther imperialist ideology called "neoconservatism" ruled the GOP, and sticking with the GOP would have led to spending more money on foreign wars for oil. There were suggestions that neocon "defense" spending would eventually cost tax-paying Americans more than starting a savings account and buying high-deductible individual health insurance. The "tea party" movement against government spending in general didn't start until after President Obama took office.

Be methodical (5, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230704)

Just like when planning for a very large purchase, be thorough and methodical in researching your options. Firstly, dismiss the plans that do not offer sufficient coverage. Secondly, dismiss plans that have yearly or total lifetime limits that are too low. Thirdly, read reviews, opinions, and small print on whatever plans are left. Finally, pick whichever fits your budget, preferably from a company whose last quarterly statement is not deep in the red, since the latter is sure to raise rates or compromise coverage.

Finally, remember that long-term disability is an absolute necessity in addition to life insurance (and possibly even more important). Make sure it's a policy with a completely different company.

If you go about it in a cool, organized manner, you will find the coverage you need... but don't be alarmed when you have to pay at least $15'000/year for it.

Re:Be methodical (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231020)

...but don't be alarmed when you have to pay at least $15,000/year for it.

Yes, don't be alarmed, just give up your dream of running a business since you don't have enough disposable income to throw at insurance.

Re:Be methodical (1)

guyfawkes-11-5 (1583613) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231110)

Just like when planning for a very large purchase, be thorough and methodical in researching your options. Firstly, dismiss the plans that do not offer sufficient coverage. Secondly, dismiss plans that have yearly or total lifetime limits that are too low. Thirdly, read reviews, opinions, and small print on whatever plans are left. Finally, pick whichever fits your budget, preferably from a company whose last quarterly statement is not deep in the red, since the latter is sure to raise rates or compromise coverage.

Finally, remember that long-term disability is an absolute necessity in addition to life insurance (and possibly even more important). Make sure it's a policy with a completely different company.

If you go about it in a cool, organized manner, you will find the coverage you need... but don't be alarmed when you have to pay at least $15'000/year for it.

His coverage will easily be more than 15k/yr. Basic coverage through a large group (employer) costs in the range of $1,300/mo at group rates.

Amway? (1)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230716)

VMware instructor said he joined Amway just to get the medical benefits. Third hand so not sure it's doable. (he didn't try to recruit me or anything...)

Seriously, try "Artists' Guide" - for solo workers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230736)

Seriously, although this book is aimed at artists, they have a whole chapter devoted to dealing with these issues, because (duh) you're usually ON YOUR OWN. http://www.artistcareerguide.com/book.php Good luck!

Move where? (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230754)

3 of the first 4 responses are simply "Move out of the U.S." One suggests Canada.

Seriously - If I was willing to move out of the U.S. and good health care was on my list of needs, where should I go?

A good net connection and a government that doesn't care to monitor what I do on that connection would be a major plus.

I'm no more than 5 years from retirement and find this question oddly applicable to my situation.

Re:Move where? (1)

OMFG it's Rici (1564141) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230924)

Italy has universal healthcare and in some areas it's very good, in some others it's complete bullshit but well that can be said for everything here. Plus, americans are well welcomed mostly.

Re:Move where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230946)

I'm from Finland. I'd say that anywhere in the Nordics would be a win but maybe Danmark would be the best from that point of view.

Re:Move where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230952)

Come to Canada, we'd love to have you. Taxes aren't actually higher here than in the US. You've got 10 provinces and 3 territories to choose from and each one is a little different. True we don't have tropical weather, but the coasts are milder. I live in Thunder Bay http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_Bay , the surrounding area is beautiful, only 45 miles to the border if you want to visit home, and real estate is absolutely cheap. A nice home for $150000, free universal healthcare, an airport with direct flights to Toronto by several airlines 4 times daily. Yep it's great here.

Re:Move where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230976)

3 of the first 4 responses are simply "Move out of the U.S." One suggests Canada.

Seriously - If I was willing to move out of the U.S. and good health care was on my list of needs, where should I go?

A good net connection and a government that doesn't care to monitor what I do on that connection would be a major plus.

I'm no more than 5 years from retirement and find this question oddly applicable to my situation.

Literally just about anywhere besides the USA.

Re:Move where? (2, Interesting)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231030)

Seriously - If I was willing to move out of the U.S. and good health care was on my list of needs, where should I go?

I think you will find it harder to be allowed immigration than you expect. Depending on where you go of course, but your options are probably quite limited.

Re:Move where? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231086)

Seriously - If I was willing to move out of the U.S. and good health care was on my list of needs, where should I go?

If you're an American, Canada seems like the most obvious choice, not the least of which because of it's geographical convenience, cultural similarities, etc. Of course, the system here isn't perfect... while the horror stories often cited are largely bullshit, it's certainly true that for non-catastrophic procedures (say, knee surgery), there are waiting lists, and they can be fairly long depending on the province. OTOH, for anything life-and-death (heart surgery, cancer treatment, etc), coverage is immediate and, of course, free.

As for broadband, Canada is definitely one of the more advanced nations out there. We're no Japan, but we're better than large swathes of the United States. And I'm not aware of any monitoring or censorship efforts (okay, that's not entirely true... the whole "hate speech" thing and the "human rights tribunal" thing has gotten out of hand occasionally, but most of the time it's a non-issue). Certainly I don't believe we're any worse than any other options out there (Europe, Japan, etc).

'course, I have no idea how hard it is to actually get permanent resident status, as there may be employment requirements, etc.

If you're seriously considering it, though, just keep in mind that, just like American states, the province you pick makes a difference. For example, Alberta has a fairly well-funded healthcare system, while those in, say, the maritime provinces are struggling. And culturally, there can be some substantial variability (eg, Alberta is quite conservative, British Columbia the precise opposite, etc).

Re:Move where? (2, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231122)

Most countries won't allow people over a certain age to immigrate, to prevent that exact situation. They have enough elderly sucking off the government tit already. They don't need broken-down old foreigners who have contributed their lifetime's worth of taxes to some other government, dropping by for the freebies.

Re:Move where? (3, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231130)

I'm Canadian and very biased, so I'll just say that up front.

Move to Canada.

Canada is capitalist. Canada has universal health care. Canada's not going to take too much out of you through taxes; if they did, we wouldn't have the economy we do. Canada's tax code is fairly similar to the US, and probably fairly less complicated (and there are many, many deductions available to businesses). And you know that Canada has a stable government and isn't going to be embroiled in conflict any time soon.

Of course, you'll have to go through the immigration process to do so, though if you're running a fairly successful business you should have no trouble (I believe there's a business owner class for immigration).

Kaiser Permanente (3, Informative)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230760)

If you live where they serve. I've had them for 35 years, my daughter was born in their hospital, wife had multiple surgeries. Get the plan with the highest co-pay and then self-fund an HSA account to cover the copay and other things like eyeglasses. About half the price of the mainline insurance companies and no worries about how much the 80/20 costs will bankrupt you. And yes, small business and self-employed plans are available.

Tax deduction (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230776)

Talk to a CPA. If you're working for yourself, your health insurance expenses (even those for your family) can be deducted from your taxes. This does ease the burden a bit.

Don't do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230792)

I'd recommend you don't do it. If you do, make sure you build an appropriate amount into the costs of your new endeavor (price your product accordingly).

I did exactly what you describe in 1999 and have not had health insurance to this day. You can plan on spending upwards of $1,000 per month for family coverage. At the first sign of a health problem, expect the rates to skyrocket. After an ER visit, expect the rates to go up the exact amount that it would take to pay those health bills over five years. The insurer has no "group" to spread their increased costs over, and will make damn sure they aren't the ones in the negative on the deal.

The only positive is that I have successfully negotiated huge discounts off large bills, like 70% off a major surgery, by paying cash in advance. In the end I've spent far less on my family's medical bills than we'd have paid in insurance premiums, not counting the out-of-pocket costs on top of those premiums.

Feh. Health Insurance. (1, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230804)

Look, don't get me wrong...I'm all for companies and industries working to make a profit. That is, after all, the entire point of capitalism.

That being said, FUCK insurance companies and the healthcare industry in general snubbing patient health to make a profit. As I said, I'm all about making money and I'm all about industry making money, but profiting off the misfortune and ill-health of people is the worst kind of dickery.

Re:Feh. Health Insurance. (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231114)

profiting off the misfortune and ill-health of people is the worst kind of dickery.

I assume you don't also mean doctors, nurses and EMTs.

Health Cover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230824)

Move to UK get covered by the NHS

Try doctors, dentists, etc. that take cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230826)

If you can't afford health insurance, there are other options. At least until you or your family get seriously sick or injured.

a few options (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230834)

Most large insurance companies (State Farm, AllState, etc.) have a variety of health insurance offerings ranging from hospitalization-only, to "traditional" comprehensive major medical plans (usually an 80/20 split with the they pay/you pay format plus a deductible) to HMO and HMO-like products. Prices will range from $300-$1,500 per month depending on the type and amounts of coverage. Some states offer small group or community pools where small businesses can band together to form a risk pool for better rates. Most BlueCross/BlueShield plans have small business insurance options, but they will be pricey.

Most of the horror stories involving "I thought I was covered but they said I wasn't" are due to lack of reading the plan requirements for in-network/out-of-network coverages and what doctors and hospitals were part of the plan, what services required referrals or pre-approval. Bottom line: no matter what you buy, make sure you know the details before you do anything, including visit an E.R. or go to your regular doctor for a check-up.

Missing argument in health-care debate (5, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230838)

Supposedly one of the strengths of the U.S. economy is its ability to rapidly adapt to changes. This has been used to justify the lack of job protections for workers. But as the poster has shown, having health insurance tied to your employer obstructs the kind of entrepreneurism that's part of our rapid adaptation.

I don't understand why this argument hasn't come up during the health-care debates. It would have let Democrats position themselves as pro-economy.

Just forget paying (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230848)

Here's the easiest solution. Find out how much you would pay in yearly premiums to cover you and your family, then find out how much visits to the doctor and dentist would cost you if you had no insurance. I'm certain you'll see a huge discrepancy between the two.

For the average, healthy, person, it is much more cost effective to pay your own doctor bills than it is to get insurance. The extra money you save can be put into a money market account to collect interest in case something large comes up.

When you consider how much you and your company spent to cover you while you were employed, and the fact you almost never used it, it's a huge financial drain with the only winner being the insurance companies.

Re:Just forget paying (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231042)

Uh sure, but you're completely ignoring the fact that many medical conditions come from nowhere. Even a slight medical issue can run you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Consider if you're paying $10k/yr in insurance premiums, ten years later you get cancer. You would have saved $100k (assuming absolutely no other issues for any family member, which is unlikely). You could easily spend that $100k in just a couple of weeks (or even days depending on your problem)... Then what would you do?

Re:Just forget paying (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231046)

That works great, as long as you remain an average healthy person. To take care of the small chance that you will become an unhealthy person, you still need some high-deductible insurance. Otherwise you will be either broke, dead, or both if you get diagnosed with a major illness.

HSA (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230888)

I bought an HSA when a few years ago my company raised insurance premiums. They had a plan and were self insured so basically we just paid for what the cost was divided by number of employees. We had some employees that enjoyed the outdoors and got into a lot of accidents that raised the costs for everyone. My family plan was $700/mo.

So I went out on my own and got an high deductible HSA from Humana. It was about $200 a month for a family of 4. It had a $10k deductible so basically you are paying for your own health care unless you have something major happen. Then it paid 100% above the $10k. The good part is you can put up to $10k pre-tax into the HSA savings account. You can then pay your health bills using pre-tax money. They had a PPO which means they have a network of doctors you can use that they have a negotiated prices. But you can use any doctor you want.

What I found is that we shopped around. You would be amazed at the difference in prices if you say you will pay at the time of service. Some doctors wouldn't quote us a price for the visit so we didn't go there. Also we shopped around for drug prices and found that most of the big pharmacies will match prices.

When I became self-employed (2, Insightful)

mj01nir (153067) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230904)

I got an individual plan from the same provider that my company had been with. It was really pretty simple. Not cheap, but simple.

I'm damned glad that I did, too. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years later (she's fine now). We would have been wiped out if not for insurance.

Remember opportunity costs! (1)

glassware (195317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230908)

Also, remember that all the time you spend researching plans, puzzling over them, applying, waiting, and receiving rejections should be counted as wasted time when you could have been doing something productive. I've wasted hours trying to read and comprehend one of those health insurance choice packets that Blue Cross / Anthem gave me before I realized there was no way whatsoever I could pick between them in a meaningful way. I suppose if I was already sick and I knew exactly what I would be spending, maybe I could have figured out my costs by counting doctors' visits and treatment coverage, but since I'm healthy at the moment I have no idea what disease or injury might befall me.

Maybe there's a reason to have choice in the health insurance market, but I've honestly never seen one.

Your Best Solution: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230940)

is to find a civilized OECD country with socialized medicine.
The U.S.A. is now a third-world country with a large population of neglected residents. It's NOT going to get better.

Yours In Riga,
Kilgore Trout

Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31230960)

People who are living nearby the border are going to Mexico if they have health issues.

Hawaii? Massachusetts? (3, Interesting)

astrashe (7452) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230970)

I don't know if you're able to move or not, but the situation isn't the same in every state. Maybe you could move to Hawaii, for example.

It might be overkill, but if you really want to go out on your own, that could be a path forward.

Back to school (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230988)

1) In Massachusetts, my wife & I have adequate, if not great, insurance through the state clearinghouse for $850/mo 2) Most colleges/community colleges require insurance for enrolled students >>and if you don't have it elsewhere, have group plans that are ok, and real cheap. Last time my wife took some courses it was ~$3k/year for both of us. Even adding in the cost of a course...of course.

Healthcare Business Model, and its politics (2, Insightful)

forrie (695122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31230998)

The business model of the healthcare industry can explain why it's difficult for individuals to obtain policies.

Note, this is not flame bait, just what I understand about the facts. The healthcare industries are in biz to make money - your claims are their losses, so if you rely on a plan that is subsidized wholly by the healthcare company, you're more likely to have troubles than, for example, a policy under an plan in which the company is "self insured" -- self insured means that the individual company has a pool of funds that pays claims and the healthcare company (ie: Blue Cross) is the "servicer" on their behalf. Under that scenario, and in my own personal experience, you are less likely to have troubles.

60 Minutes recently did an interesting segment on this, which included former employees ("Doctors") of large healthcare companies who came forward about some of the internal politics of this - and the horrors of the policies that favor denied claims, etc.

Notwithstanding other really good advice and info here, of course.

Also, if you'd like to see another viewpoint and comparison of the healthcare industries of the world, see Michael Moore's "SiCKO" -- tho there is obviously a bias there, I found it quite interesting.

This is partly why this so-called "public option" has people up in arms. It's (mostly) about the money :-)

I think that's great that you're looking to get out on your own; I wish you the best of luck.

Facts. (5, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231000)

I'll tell you a fact from a Canadian perspective of a middle class person. For all the complaining about the "death panels" we actually don't have here (vs. your for-profit insurance companies you guys do have) and saying that we have to wait forever (which we don't, prioritized: if you need it you get it *now*), when the average Canadian looks at the situation the average US'ian is in: we feel HORROR. God people, how can you choose to do nothing about it?

Leverage Groups (2, Insightful)

cyberElvis (309765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231006)

Look into any kind of groups you have membership in especially professional associations. For example IEEE members (I believe after a year of membership) can get group health insurance, although I have not looked into lately it it may no longer be the case. Also organizations like AAA (yes the auto club) have discount prescription programs. Basically look at any group you belong to see if they have leveraged the power of their membership base to negotiate rates with insurance companies.

Medicaid (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231014)

Get the best primary residence you can possibly afford. If you get really sick, go on Medicaid. Medicaid can't take your primary residence. Also, look into a "Medicaid approved annuity" to protect some assets; but be mindful of the fact that it will lock up the money at low interest rates.

If you don't have significant assets, don't buy anything. Health insurance doesn't insure your health, it insures your assets--badly.

In general, set up an asset protection plan if you have any signficant assets. Talk to a lawyer. The idea is to make yourself looke "poor on paper". Really. I wish I were kidding.

Come to Canada (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231018)

Well, my advice to you would be to set-up your company in Canada.

If you did that, you will enjoy preferential trade access to the US market, standards of living comparable if not better than those in the US, and a healthcare system you do not have to worry about.

Best of all, your life expectancy will be nudged up a notch.

My only problem with Canada is the fact that its market is secondary to US companies more often than not. This means that the Droid, Nexus and other phones will always be late in the Canadian market.

How is that?

Info from PA (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231022)

I am in PA and I started full-time contract work just over 5 years ago. I have a family and have been using Aetna the whole 5 years. At, first, my premiums were 575 per month, with a deductible for each family member of about 500 for prescriptions, 150 for emergency room, 15 dollar copay, and some other pretty decent stuff. Now, my premium is 1,100 per month, deductible at 1000, copay 25 and emergency room at 250. I rarely go to the doctor, and if I do get a prescription it is only antibiotics. My wife only goes to normal visits and my kids don't go that often. My youngest has asthma, but we pay for ALL asthma related items out of pocket (since she has been taking floven, the asthma has not been an issue).

Anyone who says that lowering taxes will help small business is either f***ing retarded or a flat out liar. My taxes have in fact gone DOWN the past couple of years, while my health insurance nearly doubled over the past 5. Guess what else has gone down. RATES. The only reason I am still doing this is that I love it, and I am hoping that I can expand further and take on other workers. I would like to hire them full-time, but with health insurance being what it is I have to take them as a w2 contract or 1099.

I don't want to crush your "American Dream", but as far as health insurance goes you are basically Effed. And if you are trying to do "research" note that there is no real competition. You either pay out the ass for fairly decent coverage (still with out of pocket expenses) or you pay less with a a crap load of out of pocket expenses. THERE IS NO REAL COMPETITION!!!!!

Buy insurance with large deductable (1)

donberryman (591775) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231068)

I've been doing this for years. BCBS, at least in the state of Minnesota, offers family plans with large deductibles at fairly affordable rates. Of course, with a $5,000 - $10,000 deductible, you're likely to never collect, however you do benefit from the negotiated rates that insurance companies have with service providers. I choose the option that pays 100% after the deductible, figuring that if something catastrophic happens, I don't want to pay 20% of those huge bills for heart surgery, transplants, cancer treatment, etc.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231070)

Contrary to much of the posted opinion, assuming that your are in good heath, an individual policy for you and your family will be much cheaper than what the insurance company has been charging your company (of which you may only of been paying a very small portion of). Anthem freely admits the group and small group insurance is much more expensive for a healthy person than its individual policy.

Insurance will NOT cost you and your family 15K /year if you all are in good health. If a member of your family is not in good health, then I am sorry. If this is the case and you can send your partner/spouse to work to help out, then I wish you luck.

At age 50 (old I know) and in SoCal, Anthem wanted to charge my company $1100/mo for me and my spouse under its small group policy vs $410 for an equivalent individual/family policy. So please - don't listen to the horror stories - call around.

Join a professional association? (1)

SixDimensionalArray (604334) | more than 4 years ago | (#31231072)

Some professional associations offer group health insurance plans, like IEEE. I don't know how good the coverage is, but it might be worth researching.

SixD

Create a group plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31231092)

Your best bet is to create a "group" insurance plan with your new venture and will have similar benefits to the kind of large "group" plans have with your current employer. You can create a group plan with just 2 people (You and your wife).

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