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octobersky
I'm hoping to join my local roller derby team and they require that you have health insurance (duh! you're going to get hurt) and I'm student teaching this fall and everyone says that you will get sick your first few years of teaching while your immune system builds up. Since I tend to be vulnerable to bronchitis, student teaching without health insurance scares me. My school does provide health insurance but it's $300 per quarter and doesn't cover a friggin' thing.
So anyway I went online looking for insurance providers and found some really affordable health plans through companies like United and Aetna for about $60 per month. The co-pays are slightly higher as well as the deductable, than what I had when I was employed, but all in all the plans aren't bad.
I was seriously suprised at the realative affordability since I was just sent mail about my COBRA benefits and it would cost me about $480 a month to maintain my former insurance.

Anyway here are the links I used - I'm not spamming or endorsing any providers here;
www.healthinsurancefinders.com
www.insurance.com
voodoo_princess
Oh wow *octobersky*, thanks for the links.... I am soooo gonna check those out since I need insurance for myself and my little girl. My son got state insurance but they wouldn't qualify my daughter, makes NO sense but whatever! AND, you should check out something called AIRBORNE or AIRSHIELD for when you start your teaching. AIRBORNE was actually invented by a teacher who was sick of getting sick from all her students (I think that's what I read on it) and AIRSHIELD is just another version of it but less expensive (tho neither is expensive at all, like UNDER $7.00 US) Anyway, these are citrus flavor tablets that come in this little plastic tube with a lid, perfect purse size, and you drop one in a glass of water and it gets all fizzy, like Alka Seltzer, and it has Vit.C (1667% DV), other vitamins and an herbal blend with Echinacea etc.... it's supposed to boost your immune system and help keep you from getting the germys and sniffles.... You start using them "before" going into the school (or where ever), and then keep on with it.... I use it because I babysit and the kids are always hacking and sniffling and I got tired of catching it all the time. You drop and drink about 4 times a day, hot or cold water, doesn't matter.... I get mine at the Dollar General Store, but I'm sure alot of bigger places carry it too.....
Check it out.... may work for you too....
:-)
octobersky
Thanks voodoo princess:-) I've already been pimping the airborne stuff, telling everyone I know! I friggin' LOVE it - it saved my ass the last time I went to New Orleans. I was sooo sick, just gotten done with finals and was scheduled to leave about 3 days later. Since I didn't have any health insurance I took some leftover antibiotics and alot of airborne. I just had some sniffles and a slight cough the day of my flight. Now whenever I have to go in to teach lessons or observe I always take airborne before and after. Works like a charm -

jeez I sound like a commercial:-}

Anyway when you do the online stuff for the insurance, it doesn't hurt to fudge slightly. When they asked if I had ever been treated for depression I put no, even though I have. At the time I was treated I was at a really, really low point and things have improved greatly since. I was only treated for about six months at most. Also I'm just looking for the insurance to get me through student teaching, subbing when I graduate and roller derby until I get a real job. Good luck, hope you can find an afforable, practical plan:-)
bentley271t
Ladies Stop! I am in the insurance business! Never answer a yes question with a no. That will provided the carrier the excuse of not paying and they will take advantage of it. There is a national data base on all of us called MIB. Your doctor, hospital and all health providers "input" to this system and that's how you get busted. Sure, the carrier will take your money, but turn in that claim and they will contact MIB and you are cooked! On the other hand, never answer a question more than what is asked. Did you have any treatment in the past 3 years. Stop, if it was 4 years ago, say no. Hate to be such a pain the the ass.
voodoo_princess
bentley271t - this thread is about NOT HAVING INSURANCE AT ALL for the most part..... so while you seem to be full of information, it's useless to most of us because we have NO INSURANCE..... no claims will be filed on our behalf, doesn't really matter how we answer anything, can't be turned down for benefits by insurance you DON'T HAVE!!!!!!
lucizoe
Also, bentley271t, you should be aware that although this particular thread says "America," BUST is pretty international and posts which refer to national databases or countries need to be clarified. Welcome to BUST!! (oh, and you might wanna drop the "ladies" business)

(voodoo - I'm sorry I haven't responded to your PM yet...I didn't forget you, I promise! I just suck at email!)
aliboo
I am currently w/o insurance.

I was still covered through my parents up until last year...when I could no longer afford to be a full time student at my university. Before that I had gone around 3 years without insurance. Funny they could put me back on after nearly 3 years as soon as I was a full time student but drop me instantly the moment I dipped below 12 credit hours which was totally not my choice.

I guess I am lucky though because there are free/low cost clinics in my area and I am often able to qualify for assistance. My university also offers healthcare and health insurance for a discounted price.

I now owe a Redi-Med $150 though because I got sick on a weekend (apparently free/low cost places don't serve po' folk on the weekends). $150 though! I mean..I waited in the waiting room sick as a dog around 30 other people for THREE hours. THREE hours! I saw a doctor for TWO minutes. I can barely talk about it it makes me so pissed heh.
erinjane
Have you talked to your uni to see if you might be able to get on the health plan even though you're not a FT student? I know that my school will sometimes make exceptions to PT students.
ginger_kitty
I don't know if you have the time for a part time job? But I remember when I used to work at Barnes and Noble they offer health insurance even part time employees that work as little as 10 hrs a week. Maybe you could find something like that if your schedule allows?
dani837
As an international student, I got screwed cause I had to pay for the "university insurance", meaning the most expensive one! (aprox. 1100 per year). Of course I never had the chance to use it, falling down is not one of my main hobbies cool.gif
venetia
Quick question:

if you are literally dying of some totally cureable thing in the US do they just let you die?
hoosierman78
What measures have to be taken to 'cure' you will determine if you die or not. As far as I know, if it requires anything considered elective (such as transplant surgery) then they let you die. If it involves procedures or drugs that cost tens of thousands of dollars, then it is a little fuzzy. Most hospitals have financial aid departments where you can work some sort of payment out (little known fact that, if uninsured, you can usually negotiate lower rates if you pay in cash due to the large number of people that don't pay at all - hospital is glad to get something rather than nothing). If no payment arrangement can be made, then you are stabilized, but not given the latest and greatest care available.

Legally, they are obligated to stabilize you, but not treat you until cured.
dani837
QUOTE(hoosierman78 @ Aug 22 2006, 09:03 AM) *

What measures have to be taken to 'cure' you will determine if you die or not. As far as I know, if it requires anything considered elective (such as transplant surgery) then they let you die.

And THAT'S why I would never donate my organs smile.gif
hoosierman78
QUOTE(dani837 @ Aug 23 2006, 04:46 AM) *

And THAT'S why I would never donate my organs smile.gif


Well, technically they go to the next match on the list, regardless of income. However, if the surgeon isn't willing to eat their fees, people needing such treatment can often be passed over for someone that can afford it (unless it's a child, I'm pretty sure that Medicaid will pick this up - don't quote me on that though, I'm a little rusty as to what they do and don't cover), or at least has insurance that will pay for it. They aren't for sale to the highest bidder, but there is a point when some people are denied due to lack of funds (transplant not being necessary to stabilize and all).
turbojenn
dani - I would *wish* to pay $1100 a year for health insurance! While it seems frightfully expensive on a student budget, in the wage slave world, it comes no cheaper. Insurance through our company is $120 per pay period for *one person*, which works out to $3120 a year...and that's for a shitty Blue Cross HMO.

I'll donate my organs to whomever needs them. If I'm done using them, and they can be of use to someone else - take 'em out.
ferraro
medicaid will pick up the costs for all people needing transplants regardless of age. although this could vary slightly according to the state since medicaid is not a federal entitlement program, unlike medicare.

as far as i know the only electives they don't approve are the "experimental" ones. although, the insurance companies' or medicaid's idea of experimental maybe not jive with your doctors.

the american system of healthcare usually does not fail the catastrophically ill. the real breakdown is for the poor people with basic healthcare needs who are forced to go to the emergency room for a sore throat instead of seeing a regular doctor or practicing preventative care.

*two cents as a government researcher*
hoosierman78
QUOTE(ferraro @ Aug 23 2006, 04:39 PM) *

medicaid will pick up the costs for all people needing transplants regardless of age. although this could vary slightly according to the state since medicaid is not a federal entitlement program, unlike medicare.

as far as i know the only electives they don't approve are the "experimental" ones. although, the insurance companies' or medicaid's idea of experimental maybe not jive with your doctors.

the american system of healthcare usually does not fail the catastrophically ill. the real breakdown is for the poor people with basic healthcare needs who are forced to go to the emergency room for a sore throat instead of seeing a regular doctor or practicing preventative care.

*two cents as a government researcher*


I stand corrected & misinformed.
ferraro
sorry don't mean to be a know it all...

just wrote a paper on medicare part d (which is a catastrophic failure) and have lots of useless government health care facts in my head now.
hoosierman78
No need to apologize, I want someone that knows more about a subject to fill me in when I don't have all the facts. I like having correct information, and I really don't like passing along incorrect info. So, not only is it very ok (and you're not being a 'know it all'), but thank you.

On another note, my wife and I may soon be taking guardianship of our 10 month old nephew. Basically, she is depressed (been diagnosed & she knows this herself, admitted it to both my wife and I) but refuses to talk to anyone (family or professional) and won't take the meds to make herself feel better. She's said they work, but she just can't remember to take them regularly, so she doesn't take them at all. This basically leaves her being very lazy and neglectful of her son, and she's asked us if we'll take him for a while so she can get back on her feet. We're having a lawyer draw up the paperwork so the guardianship is legal. There are two kinks though: 1)The baby daddy does not like my wife and I at all, and will probably try to fight it. His problem is that he's serving 8 years in prison and can't do anything to take care of his kid. 2)Does anyone have any experience adding a dependent to their insurance when it's not your own child, but one that your taking a (hopefully) temporary guardianship of?
pollystyrene
I would think that if you became the kid's legal guardian, the insurance company wouldn't fight it. Well, they might fight it, but they'd have no ground to stand on. I know that the Family Medical Leave Act includes adopted children (so you and your wife could take time off after he arrives), so I don't see why an insurance company wouldn't cover him.
maryjo
Dani, you wouldn't donate your organs because the person whose life they save might be able to afford insurance? Well, that's... interesting.

I would feel very glad if I were you that you didn't have to use your insurance, not compain that you still had to pay for it. Healthcare should of course be free, but in a situation where it isn't (fwiw I'm an international student in the US too, though my department pays for my insurance; I have a chronic condition that could flare up any tims so I'm not a good insurance risk and probably would be able to get insured in the US except through a university or employer), the only way people who are sick can be covered is if people in good health pay the premiums. That's how most systems of national healthcare work too...
anoushh
Um, yeah, that disturbs me too. Are we missing something?

I'm full of criticism for the US healthcare system, but I've also seen people die for lack of available organs who otherwise might have lived. Not just old people either (not that old peoples' lives are any less valuable, mind you, but I just want to be clear.) Die, when people have perfectly good organs rotting in the ground that could have saved someone's life. And these werent' rich people with great insurance, either. Most of them were poor and on government programs.

When I'm gone I say take anything you need, anything that someone else could use.

And yeah, it's frustrating to have to pay a ton of money for insurance, but I'm sure as hell not going to complain about not using it. The shambles of a healthcare system, yes. Good health, no.
pollystyrene
Yeah, trust me, the people who need the organs, rich or poor, insured or not, have been through enough crap that I don't care what their background is. As long as they meet the qualifications (I think it's wasteful to give a good liver to someone who's an alcoholic) they can have whatever they want.
chachaheels
Trouble is, organ transplants are not just easy operations that "cure". Patients have a lifetime of significant health risk BECAUSE of having the organ implanted--including the likelihood of more emergency operations, failed organs because the body simply won't accept the transplant, nd a whole litany of expensive, immune system suppressant drugs which might not work well/need to be taken in large doses/need to be changed often as they may prove to be ineffective/create side effects forcing even more procedures and treatments to be taken...all at an ongoing cost.

If a patient can't afford the ongoing (sometimes permanent) increase in health costs chances are very good they'll not be considered a "good match" for an available organ, no matter how necessary it is to that patient. Even in the best case scenario, where things seem to go well physically and the drugs work...the drugs still have to be taken for the rest of the patient's life. If they aren't, the patient will die. It may not be said aloud, but that would seem just as "wasteful" as giving a fresh liver to an alcoholic.
maryjo
I knew all that about transplants, but I still don't think that's a reason not to donate your organs. Lots of people live with high doses of expensive medications that might not work (including me, potentially) - a life on immune-suppressants is still a life, and the choice about whether to go through that should lie with the person who's going to be taking the chance with their own body, not the potential organ-donor who after all is going to be dead whether their organs are harvested or not.

I also think that what I said about people having choices over their own bodies means we don't have the right to judge the lifestyles of people who might need transplants. If someone is capable of living with the medical regimes of post-transplant life and and organ is found that's compatible, the choice as to whether they will be treated should be theirs. There seems to be a bit of a tendency to make moral judgments about whether people *should* be treated with drastic measures (smokers, fat people, etc), and I think it's a very dangerous one. Declaring anybody's saved life "wasteful" I find extremely problematic.

I dare say there are a lot of political aspects to things like organ transplants that simply don't apply in a country with public healthcare, which is the context in which all my opinions were formed. But I have a real problem with the moralism that seems to seep into American opinions on healthcare even from people who are against the private system (...which would be every American I have ever met...)

That said, transplants probably do get excessive attention (and funding?) as the heroic, sexy life-saving operation everybody's seen on TV. And I have no doubt that detracts from the attention and money given to the development of procedures that have the potential to do more good with less risk.
sybarite
Yes, but at least the dramatisation of transplants on TV might mean that more people come forward as organ donors. Silver lining, but if it works...

I also have a problem with so-called 'moral' judgements used against potential recipients of organs. In the UK there was a negative response when the late football star George Best received a new liver yet contuned to drink. Could that liver have been used to better effect, in someone committed to not drinking? Absolutely. In addition Bestie's notoriety (and financial resources) probably made it easier to get that liver. Yet I still think it's a slippery slope if you start thinking of organ candidiate in more-deserving or less-deserving categories. Who would decide this and on what criteria?

People with power and money will always get better health care, which is wrong, and certainly what happened in the case of Best. Implementing a general, standardised system of 'who's most deserving' is even scarier to my mind though, as the resultant decision could be judged on subjective criteria.
ferraro
chacha - the americacn system is horrible in many ways but medicaid does cover transplant drugs. you are not removed from the transplant list if youre on medicaid.

medicine is a tiered system in any country, including western europe and canada. the rich can always afford to pay for the best doctors (often in the US) out of pocket.

i think by focusing on such relatively rare things such as organ transplants we're missing the bigger picture. we need to have people able to access preventative healthcare so that they can improve their general quality of life.
anoushh
Word, maryjo.

I wish some of you could meet the people I know who've had liver and kidney transplants and ask if they'd rather be dead or taking immuno-supressive drugs.

No one I ever met said they regretted the transplant. Prefer not to have needed it, of course. No one wants to be terminally ill. But given the choice, of transplant, hell yes.

We all die eventually--does that make medical treatment "wasteful"?

I think people come up with all kinds reasons to rationalize not donating their organs, when it is just some kind of strange squeamishness and/or selfishness at heart.
dani837
QUOTE(maryjo @ Aug 25 2006, 03:51 PM) *

Dani, you wouldn't donate your organs because the person whose life they save might be able to afford insurance? Well, that's... interesting.

I would feel very glad if I were you that you didn't have to use your insurance, not compain that you still had to pay for it. Healthcare should of course be free, but in a situation where it isn't (fwiw I'm an international student in the US too, though my department pays for my insurance; I have a chronic condition that could flare up any tims so I'm not a good insurance risk and probably would be able to get insured in the US except through a university or employer), the only way people who are sick can be covered is if people in good health pay the premiums. That's how most systems of national healthcare work too...

No!
I wouldn't donate them cause I don't want them to let me die sad.gif
I just think insurance, in universities, should be a "if you want it, pay for it. If not, then don't" thing. I know for a fact that they only make it obligatory in my university because they want to take all of our money. How strange is that? laugh.gif


Turbojenn, I can't believe you pay so much! [sarcasm]Yet another reason I want to start working ASAP[/sarcasm]
ferraro
they only take the organs after you alerady are dead dani.

i'm confused about your post?
maryjo
If it wasn't compulsory, only the people who have poor health would pay for it and therefore it would have to cost much much more. Sad but true economic fact.
anoushh
Exactly, Maryjo. And the result is also that care is worse for everyone.

And I still don't get what the problem is with organ donation.

venetia
Not sure but I think Dani means: if she's an organ donor, people will be more tempted to just let her die, so they can run off with her liver?

Wow, I've just learnt so much about the US health system! I think I used to think Medicare and Medicaid were the same thing. I just read the wikipedia for medicaid too, now it makes more sense.
maryjo
I should add that the American healthcare system is pretty much what you get when you make paying for health insurace optional. All national healthcare basically is, is compulsory health insurance for all citizens.
ferraro
maybe that is what dani means venetia but its totally not true.
anoushh
It seems that the fact it's totally not true should go without saying, but unfortuately a lot of people think it is.

The fact is there are very rare circumstances in which an organ can be used. You have to be reasonably young, and essentially die suddenly of an accident rather than an illness. (Maybe a few exceptions to this, but very few.) And honestly, who is going to be thinking "well, we might be able to save this patient who just had a car wreck, but hey, that looks like it might be a good liver, so let's not try too hard, ok guys?"

I know medical people can be scum--I've worked in the field for years--but that DOES NOT HAPPEN. (And many medical people are wonderful, of course.)

And anyone who is involved in a transplant knows that the donated organ or part has come from someone else's loss. Generally there's a hell of a lot of respect and even reverence around that.

I would very much hope that at least something of mine can be useful after I'm gone, rather than everything just decaying uselessly. And I can't say, but if I was in my family's position and knowing how important organ donation is to me, I'd think I'd take some comfort in knowing something good came out of something painful.

I mean, how often can you literally save someone's (or more than one person's) life???

I'm not a religious person by any means, but I do have strongly held values, and the word that keeps coming to mind about this is it just seems sinful to let other people suffer when they could be using organs you no longer need.

the American system also means that in spite of spending more money per capita on health care than, say, the UK, we actually have worse health.
Which is totally not surprising.

The US system is in even worse shape than when I left the US four years ago. It's an absolute disgrace and getting worse.
lowredmoon
i just renewed my driver's license today, and am now a proud organ donor.

i'm still uninsured, and at this point i'm actually looking for work based solely on getting healthcare. my older brother can't leave the job he hates, because his kids need health insurance. i'm convinced the US system is eventually going to hit critical mass and reform will HAVE to happen, and then people will be all, "oh, why didn't we do this in the first place?" and then i will have to hit someone.
lilacwine13
I agree, lowredmoon. Not sure about hitting anyone, though. (Well, maybe a well-placed smack upside the head...)

I was covered through my company, which is one of the reasons why I stayed so long with them. I didn't renew it because I think that will give me even more of a reason to find another job. Also, they switched providers and managed to find one that was even worse than the one they had before. sad.gif I guess I'll just stay healthy until I find another job and am eligible for coverage through them.
venetia
Are drivers licence donor boxes legally binding in the US? In NZ people assume they are, but in reality the family's consent is what it actually hinges on. There is a move here towards changing the law because we have such a low donor rate.
anoushh
No, unfortunately your family can override your wishes to donate just because they say so. However, I was just reading on the BBC that this is due to change in the UK, which at the moment has the same policy, so that the donor's wishes are legally binding. Yay!

Lowredmoon, you made my day. Really--that put me in a good mood!
(And I'm afraid I"m with you on the hitting. And I don't approve of hitting generally.)
hoosierman78
Like has been said, driver's license box only means something if you have no family to override it. As far as I know, the only way to mostly (anymore, ANYTHING can be challenged in court, which is unfortunate if someone's personal wishes are very clear) ensure your wishes are carried out is to have a living will. In that, you can outline how long, if at all, you wish to be on life support, how far you want the medical professionals to go to save you, if you want to be an organ donor, etc.

While it can be challenged, just like any other legally 'binding' document, the better the language (i.e. have it done by a lawyer, not just written out and notorized - though that is better than nothing) the better the chances of your wishes being upheld.
nohope
Democrats and Republicans Downplay Health Care Crisis
http://www.gp.org/press/pr_2006_08_24.shtml
anarch
Michael Moore's Sicko -discussion.

US vs Canada vs Europe comparative anecdotes.

"In 2003, Americans spent an estimated US$5,635 per capita on health care, while Canadians spent US$3,003... Canada’s single-payer system, which relies on not-for-profit delivery, achieves health outcomes that are at least equal to those in the United States at two-thirds the cost."

"There was a woman who had very good health coverage. It covered mental health benefits. She was raped and went to see a psychiatrist as a result of the trauma she was suffering afterwards. But her health insurance refused to pay the psychiatrist because they said the rape was a pre-existing condition. It had happened before she went to the psychiatrist, so they wouldn't cover it."
anarch
Short-term health insurance policies:

"Diagnosing and treating an illness may not fall neatly into six-month increments. While Pat had been continuously covered since 2002 by the same company, Assurant Health, each successive policy treated him as a brand-new customer. In looking back over Pat's medical records, the company noticed test results from December, eight months earlier. Though Pat's doctors didn't determine the precise cause of the problem until the following July, his kidney disease was nonetheless judged a "pre-existing condition" — meaning his insurance wouldn't cover it, since he was now under a different six-month policy from the one he had when he got those first tests."

One link from that discussion is a New Yorker piece, "How Should Obama Reform Health Care?"
nbdx0645
I needed a place to rant, partially because I was too careless with my insurance coverage and did not read the fine print, and I thought my office was going to pre-authorize my insurance.

I was looking for a therapist. I found one and asked if they take Health Alliance HMO insurance. She later notified me, via e-mail, that she was in-group for the Health Alliance HMO, and that her office would take care of all billing. I gave them my information and about 2 weeks later, started seeing the counselor (and paying $25 in co-payments.)

2.5 months (and 5 sessions) later, I received a call that all of my claims were denied because my counselor is not in-group for my HMO and HA did not receive a referral and authorization. I was informed that Health Alliance has tailored HMOs for each company, and my company opted out of being in that plan. Also, the therapist's office did take care of all billing -- they submitted the information to Health Alliance and it was denied. There's a referral clause on the benefits statement that my office received, but it points back to me not taking the steps to get that referral. Does that make sense?

A hard lesson has been learned =/ I can't help but feel a little mislead, but it's stated in my benefit handbook. I just thought that my therapist's office was going to take care of it.
anarch
(((nbdx0645)))

And your therapist's office didn't tell you this earlier because...?

This country's "health care" system makes me want to stab the people who have cushy take-care-of-everything plans and don't give a shit about making things better for people who don't.

nbdx0645
They said they just received the claim, and that it usually takes this much time. :/ I thought that they'd see "claim denied" much sooner, but they didn't. And more unpaid claims are going to be coming in over the next few days.

The worst part was when the woman at my therapists billing said statements like "You didn't do your research" and "You are responsible to pay, and we're suspending all sessions until we receive payment." Healthcare is a cruel mistress, and my company's HMO is a Frankenstein plan that has pages of exclusions and amendments . I was trying to work through all the information throughout my workday, and eventually started crying at my desk. I was so embarrassed. It's so hard to coordinate between the therapist's office, and then the insurance company, and then my general doctor. Health Alliance also messed up my billing by paying for 2 sessions like I was on a traditional HMO plan, but said they were not going to resubmit claims. However, when I called today, only 1 session was paid by them.

I'm hoping that what I'm saying makes sense. I'm still trying to figure out if all groups are being honest with me.
anarch
(((nbdx0645)))

I'm sitting here shaking my head. That woman didn't have to be a bitch about it.

Good luck sorting the mess out and protecting yourself.
nbdx0645
Good news: I finally hashed it out with my counseling group,and paid them their base rate for sessions. I cut a check in full and said I'm going to take a little break and come back when I'm ready. Then I found out that they fired my counselor (who was totally awesome) and she's working elsewhere. See ya later, previous counseling group.

Not-so-good-news: I got a Rx for epi-duo but my insurance denied it. Figures! I was wondering if anybody has had any luck with buying their prescription meds from online Canadian pharmacies. $20/tube would sure beat $170. I could road trip to Canada for that much money.
anarch
Yay for the good news!

I have no experience with ordering from online Cdn pharmacies, but I checked ask.metafilter and possibly some suggestions in these threads might help. (or might not)

specifically, it looked to me like drugbuyers.com and InhousePharmacy got decent reviews.
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