Thursday, June 23, 2005

Who knew?!

One of the fun things about blogging is being able to relate true (but potentially boring) stories, in an entertaining way. Well, hopefully entertaining.
Insurance carriers each do things their own way. For instance, some carriers charge for each child they cover, while others charge a flat rate, regardless of the number of progeny involved. The latter case is a good deal for large families, but not such a bargain for smaller ones.
Case in point:
Another nice lady calls in to discuss health insurance (this tends to happen in cycles, so I don’t keep the little “Take A Number” sign out all the time). Her group coverage at work is getting expensive, and she’s looking for ways to trim the budget. So far, so good.
She is married, and they have one child, a teenaged son. Her contribution toward the group plan is about $230 a month for herself and her son, plus another (whopping) $600 for hubby. That’s over $800 a month that she pays out of pocket (I didn’t ask how much her employer contributes, because it didn’t seem relevant).
She asked me to price an individual plan for her family, so I began – as I usually do – by asking questions. Turns out that she and her son are healthy, but hubby has some blood pressure and cholesterol issues. Okay, that adds to the rate, but nothing too bad. Plus he’s too short for his weight. Again, this doesn’t help, but it’s not a huge deal (no pun in 10 did).
But wait, he’s also on anti-anxiety meds. And he’s “borderline diabetic.”
At this point, I stop her, and we go back to square one, which is a more detailed breakdown of her premiums. It occurs to me that, given that hubby’s uninsurable in the individual market, maybe we can find a different solution.
It turns out, a policy on her son is about $75 a month. But if we write it, and take him off the group plan, they save over $200 a month. How is this possible? Remember how we saw that some carriers charge a flat rate, no matter how many kids one has? Well, she’s actually paying for 3 kids worth of coverage now, and we can reduce that substantially, while keep coverage for her husband intact (vitally important in this case).
So, it really does come down to just asking questions.
Lots and lots of questions.
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