Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cost of Delay

There is a cost to everything. Sometimes prices are stable. Other times prices rise. Once in a while prices drop.

The premium charged for health insurance, particularly individual health insurance, is not the only factor affecting affordability.

More often than not, the one factor that most fail to account for is their health.

Your health can change from one day to the next.

Here are a few examples.

Don was considering leaving his job and striking out on his own. He started looking at plans but figured he had time and could afford to wait.

Don left his job last month. He is still trying to decide. Last week he visited the doctor for a routine physical. Turns out his cholestorol reading was 350.

He was immediately put on cholesterol lowering meds.

Now when Don applies for health insurance his premium will be 20 - 45% higher or he may find that the carrier will refuse to cover any treatment for high cholesterol and any related illness.

The cost of waiting as it turns out is quite high.

Karen started looking in January. She was on COBRA which was due to run out in August. No rush. She could have made a change in January and saved about $100 per month over her COBRA coverage. She could even have a carrier that will cover her cholesterol treatment.

Karen chose to wait.

In April she had surgery to remove a kidney stone. All is fine now.

Except her search for coverage has changed dramatically.

The carrier who would accept her before without restriction on cholesterol treatment now refuses to offer a policy.

Every other carrier she will consider will not cover kidney stones for a minimum of 2 years.

She does have a conversion option. The premium for conversion is $900 per month.

The plan she wanted in January was $250 per month.

Her kidney stone operation was $15,000. Now when she takes a policy she will have to hope she doesn't have additional problems with kidney stones.

Karen's decision to wait could cost her plenty.
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