Dear Tom and Alan: I seem to be out of luck when it comes to getting health insurance.
My coverage under my boss ran out a few months ago, and now they tell me I have to wait until the next open enrollment to get insured. It’s been more than 60 days (that seems to be the magic number), so my chance at COBRA (too expensive) or just a regular plan, is long gone.
On top of all this, my tax guy says they may charge me a penalty for not having insurance! I’m 59, in reasonable health, and a little nervous.
By the way, I’m originally from Australia where we never have to worry about this stuff.
Oy Oy Oy
Al: Oy, your question could not be more timely. On the front page of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle (May 22) was an article about short-term health insurance policies that are riskier and do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Tom: The companies they mention are Agile Health Insurance, Health Insurance Innovations, eHealth and Aetna.
We went to a few of the websites to run some quotes for you. Right out of the gate, they point out that there are strict limits to how long the policies last and that you may still be liable to penalties.
Al: I used my name, Oy’s age, my email and phone number on each site. The minute I clicked on “Get a Quote”, the phone rang…and kept on ringing for most of the day. The people I talked to wanted to get some information on me and then have a sales representative talk to me.
The first site that came up was SWIFT by Healthy Halo Insurance Services. Smack dab in the middle of their first page is this:
“Short term insurance is an affordable alternative to Obamacare that lets you pick as-you-need-them benefits for you and yours when you haven’t had a qualifying life event.”
Tom: The next site was Agile Health Insurance. We actually got nine pages of quotes for a 59-year-old single male.
The least expensive plan was $337.70 per month, plus fees, for a policy with a $7,500 deductible, $10,000 maximum out of pocket, and 50 percent coinsurance. The most expensive plan was $1,030.94 plus fees for a $500 deductible, $1,500 maximum out of pocket, and 20 percent coinsurance.
All of these plans had a maximum benefit of $2 million, a $50 urgent care copay, and, of course, were subject to medical underwriting.
Al: Which, of course, means they can turn you down. Finally, we got a quote from Affordable Health Insurance.
The range in premium for Oy is similar and all of the plans quoted were through HCC Life Insurance Company.
What jumped out at me from this last one is that the policy is only for six months.