Navigating the Personal Insurance Maze

For the past month or so, I have been working on getting personal health insurance. Where do you start? A simple Google Search on health insurance Arizona just gives you way too much information. Narrowing the search down, really did not help much either. What I found were broker houses and the insurance companies directly. Which approach is best? There are lots of questions and the answers to those are sometimes hard to find. I want to share my experience…

I am not one to just pick something and go with it from the start. I like to research, read reviews and even posted some Twitter questions to my followers. Lastly, I reached out to the 3 doctors that I could not be without. Getting help from as many folks as possible. So, all of my initial discussions narrowed down to 3 particular insurance companies (United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Az and Cigna).

Time to go shopping on-line. I pulled up their sites and their information on what insurance plans they offer, what cost per month is and how usable their website was. Taking a straight cost approach, Cigna was significantly higher per month than the others. Not even close.

So, I went the route of going through the process with both BCBSAZ and United Healthcare. The costs were pretty much the same for their plans – one was cheaper but the deductible was a little higher. A wash in my mind. I filled out the  on-line forms. Plenty of additional information on you health status is needed. So, if you have had surgeries or other healthcare throughout the years, keep records. Makes filling out the forms much easier.

After a few weeks, I got an answer from each of them. Since I have had some surgeries, 2 full hip replacements, knee cleaned out and some minor other items, I was told that my premiums were going to have to be increased to cover what they felt were risks. Here is where you don’t realize how different the process is. I found out from one of the reps, that by law the raising of the premiums can be 15 – 80%. One company came in with a 22% increase and the other was 80%. Same information provided, much different result. My initial reaction to the 22% was no way – that is crazy. When the 80% came in, I almost fell over.

I have always felt that health insurance (or insurance in general) is a necessary evil that really is black magic. Now that I am my own employer, I see the black magic up close and personal. I don’t want to debate healthcare reform that many refer to as Obama-care. We all as consumers know that something needs to be done to fix a broken healthcare system. Just look at the example of trying to purchase a premium. That is screwed up. Add the other many well documented issues from patients. Talk to your doctors about their experiences with the healthcare insurance companies. Something needs to be done!

For those that asked me to share my experience – here you go! I hope in the years to come, we actually fix healthcare.

 

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