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  • thoughts on insurance

    so I have been considering random paths for when the tc train slows down. But I find the same issue coming up. And that is insuranc. say I go to work for a 1099 job. That would mean most likely I would have to find my own insurance. So my questions is to the ones who may have chosen a change in path. Is it even possible to get insurance and is that insurance even worth having

    3/29/10 went to ER pain and swelling in testie
    4/07/10 found out about tc
    4/12/10 L i/o 1.3x1.3x1.9 teratoma, chorio
    5/3/10 start 3x BEP
    5/24/10 switch to 4xep off bleo do to lung clots
    7/9/10 end of chemo
    1/1/11 off the blood thinners
    10/11 year and 3 months clear

  • #2
    COBRA insurance (you can Google it) would be available if you were laid off or graduated from college and were no longer qualified for the prior plan. It typically costs about $400 per person, and for a while the government subsidized about 2/3. Not sure what's available now or if you qualify if you resign.

    If you could find a private medical plan, it would likely be extremely expensive and probably exclude pre-existing conditions and their follow-up care like surveillance costs.

    Coverage is expected to improve under the new health care plans rolling out soon, including cost controls and coverage for pre-existing conditions. I don't know many details. The admin people at your doctors' offices should be able to outline the plans.

    If you have med coverage from your current employer, you're just going to have to put up with what you've got for a while.Good luck.
    "Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off" - Paul Brodeur
    Diagnosis: 05Sept07 Right I/O: 13Sept07; Pure Seminoma; Surveillance only per NCCN: All Clear August2013 (CT scan, Markers)


    • #3
      If you are not already covered by a private policy, I'd expect it to be next to impossible to find any coverage at all for several years, & anyone that might offer you a policy will want big bucks.

      Cobra is temporary, & your right to it will likely run out before you can find affordable private coverage. If you currently have coverage, I'd do what I could to not lose it, or at least I'd make sure I had a policy signed before I let it go.

      Jan, 1975: Right I/O, followed by RPLND
      Dec, 2009: Left I/O, followed by 3xBEP


      • #4
        Dear AZrider - Several thoughts:

        1) Take advice from other folks' experiences with a grain of salt. Health insurance in the United States is regulated at the state level, and eligibility and risk-based premium-setting varies greatly from state to state. That being said, given the politics of Arizona, I wouldn't expect the market there to be particularly good for the someone with a recent cancer looking for an individual policy. But, see the first sentence above.

        2) The health care reform legislation will create a certain amount of (but not total) uniformity across states when it goes into effect fully in 2014 - for instance, insurers will no longer be allowed to deny you a policy b/c of a pre-existing condition, and, furthermore, they won't be able to jack up your premiums as much as they can now given your health status (at least as much as they can in some states).

        3) But 2014 is a long way off. In the meantime, you might be able to qualify for coverage in the high-risk pool. A high-risk pool is an insurance program restricted to those who would be very expensive to cover on a full-risk basis. Premiums are generally reasonable, and the excess cost of medical claims is covered by a subsidy; essentially, enrollees never see the difference.

        Prior to the health care reform legislation, approximately 34 states ran their own high risk pools (typically subsidized by a small surcharge on policies sold to healthy people). Unfortunately, AZ was not one of them.

        Because of the gap between passage of the bill and 2014, the bill also created a requirement for all states to either establish high risk pools or allow the federal government to operate a high risk pool in their state. These pools are already operational and will run until 2014.

        Again, given the politics of this issue, AZ decided to let the federal government run its high risk pool. Unfortunately, the eligibility requirement for the federal high risk pool is (a) have a pre-existing condition that causes an insurer to reject you AND (b) be uninsured for at least six months when you apply.

        Being uninsured after a cancer diagnosis probably isn't a good idea, but if for some reason it happens, this could be a fall-back plan.

        The high-risk pools in certain other states would allow you to qualify on the basis of pre-existing condition only, without requiring the six-month waiting period of being uninsured. I'm fairly certain that Oregon is one of these (having looked at it recently for a friend who lives there).

        There are some states that currently require insurers to guarantee issue (i.e., they already don't allow pre-existing condition exclusions) but generally these are tied to very high premiums (In Ohio, where I live, I saw a notice on premiums for the limited-scope guaranteed issue program that approached $100K/year; total enrollment was less than 100.) In Massachusetts, which enacted health care reform very similar to what was ultimately adopted by Congress in March, however, you'd be able to get a policy at a relatively reasonable rate, however.

        Here's some info on the federal plan (the one in AZ):

        It'd be interesting to hear from anyone on this forum who has had any experience with state-run high risk pools..anyone out there?

        Hope this helps. I'd be happy to do a little more poking around on this topic if it would be helpful, but it's a little bit late tonight.

        I/O 7/1/10, Seminoma IA, 2.2cm, no LVI or rete testis invasion, in surveillance, first check 9/21/10