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[at-l] Re: Short Term Medical Plans

At 09:00 PM 12/20/96 -0500, David Craft wrote:

>I deal with short term medical plans and do not recommend them,  although
>are better than nothing.  They are easy to qualify for,  but can run out
>while you are still sick and you cannot renew unless you qualify again.  I
>buying a true major med policy,  one that you can keep and will not run out
>on you.
>You have to qualify,  but it is much more valuable in the long run.
>  Premiums can be kept down with a 1000+ ded.  Be careful about HMO's since
>you probably be out of there service area.
> You could also convert to COBRA for up to 18 months on your employers plan.

You may well be correct. However -  My own experience with a broken ankle
put me in the Hitchcock Clinic in Dartmouth for a few days. Due to being in
the hospital longer than 1 day, my short term policy covered me for an
additional 6 months (for that injury) after it had expired which was very
nice.  I also didn't have to requalify when the 1st 6 month policy expired,
other than the standard questions on a form that the agent had me fill out
(maybe that's what you meant by requalifying? In any case, I didn't have to
take a physical or anything)  My deductible was only $250 and the policy was
only $700 for 6 months for 2 people.  Cobra is expensive in my opinion - and
I did contemplate taking it - looking back, it might have been a better
option had I known I would be going thru all 3 surgeries,  as the out of
pocket might have been less than even my short term policy, since the
company I worked for had a pretty good HMO. But at the time, the short term
certainly looked cheaper. I now have a personal Blue Cross, Blue Shield
policy that costs us double what the short term cost and it's for an HMO
($70/month  penalty built in to due to being hospitalized 3 times in a
year). That's with a $300 deductible. That is damn expensive (IMHO)copmpared
to what one pays when working for a major company (and I've been there
before), but where I live it is difficult to find anything that even covers
this neck of the woods. ( I realize it is difficult to talk prices without
carefully studying the benefits of each plan) I am sure that there are so
many different plans out there that you have to shop carefully. In my case,
I was lucky to have a good short term plan. I am still looking for a better
major med plan than the Blue Cross Blue Shield one, though it is nice to pay
just $20 a visit and be done with it, plus it has some dental benefits.
Again, depends on the individual and how often you go to a doctor.  With my
luck of late, a $1000 deductible would make me quite nervous, but if I had
not had that run of luck, I think the higher deductible would be a wise
choice (if the budget is a bit tight).  You're right, an HMO for the trail
would be a pain. An even bigger pain is to risk the trail without insurance.
Many do it - I would definitely not be one, though I considered it and was
actually without insurance for a few weeks and thank God decided differently
and went ahead and purchased the policy (just 3 weeks before I broke my ankle). 
 Just my .02 worth.  

Mark and Janet Holmes (Appalachian Trail - GA>NH (minus PA) '95)
NH > ME + PA 1997
Fox Hill Inn - Innkeepers 1-800-874-3313 (for reservations)
VA 16
Troutdale,VA  ( 4 miles from Dickey Gap on the AT)
AT Hiker stopping point in the Grayson Highlands!
-provider of shuttles in SW VA
Phone: 540-677-3313 

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