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Health Insurance (Thanks Obama!)

astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
edited August 2013 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm moving back to the United States in ten days. I'll be starting graduate school, and have access to a university health care plan that will cost me about $1500 for the year. My daughter's plan is about the same. Adding my wife (who is not a U.S. citizen, and will be coming to the States about a month behind me) is over $4000, however. In total, it will cost $7500.

Is this normal? I've been living in a country with socialized medicine for about five years, and I believe my entire family was covered for about $300-$350 (adding in my employer's contribution). I know the U.S. is a very different animal when it comes to health care, but the huge jump in cost between me and my wife has left me a bit uneasy. If that's the way it is, though, this is probably the best option, at least for now.

Thanks!

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    The reason it's $4000 is because it costs the same if you have 2 people on it as if you had 5. But yeah, that's actually a pretty lowball healthcare plan. $76 a week is pretty small bananas. I pay $90 for just me.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    I have only ever bought individual insurance, so I'm not an expert on packaging, but it sounds like your university plan is heavily subsidized (it's actually extremely low compared to most plans here, believe it or not). My assumption is that the subsidy does not extend beyond you, which is a bummer.

    $300 and over a month is not uncommon for individuals in the US, because we are stupid. You may be SoL unless she is planning on looking for a job that has coverage.

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  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    The reason it's $4000 is because it costs the same if you have 2 people on it as if you had 5. But yeah, that's actually a pretty lowball healthcare plan. $76 a week is pretty small bananas. I pay $90 for just me.

    I should have been more clear. The plan is additive; together, my three-person family will pay around $7500.
    .

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    That's still not unheard of. I guess I don't know what coverage it is, but my only decent option with my current employer would be $500/mo for just my wife and myself (luckily we have better options through my wife's employer).

  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    That doesn't seem normal, though. Usually there's a "family" plan that includes you plus up to a certain number of others within your legal family. Paying for each individually strikes me as a little odd.

    I'm not sure what the "Obama" thing in the title is about, though. If you are stuck paying $7500 a year, you will probably save money going over to "Obama's" plans. Keep https://www.healthcare.gov/ bookmarked as the site goes live in October. However, that's also what strikes me as strange for your current plan. Are they offering you a family plan?

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  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    The Obama thing was just a way to let people know that this is about America. I know this has nothing to do with him.

    There is no family plan. These are my options:

    $1574.00 Student Only - Annual Enrollment - 8/15/13 to 8/14/14
    $5873.00 Student & Spouse - Annual Enrollment - 8/15/13 to 8/14/14 - (Premium includes $1,574 for Student & $4,299 for Spouse)
    $3105.00 Student & Child(ren) - Annual Enrollment - 8/15/13 to 8/14/14 - (Premium includes $1,574 for Student & $1,531 for Child(ren))
    $7404.00 Student, Spouse & Child(ren) - Annual Enrollment - 8/15/13 to 8/14/14 - (Premium includes $1,574 for Student, $4,299 for Spouse & $1,531 for Child(ren))

    I guess we get a deal if we have a ton of babies this year.

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    The JRPG Club: Video game reviews, vocabulary lists and other resources for Japanese learners.
    PSN: astronautcowboy 3DS: 5343-8146-1833
    I have Sega, Nintendo and Xbox games and systems for sale. Please help me buy diapers.
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    What state do you live in? Have you looked into private insurance?

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    The university is definitely subsidizing your plan and possibly your child's plan as well.

    Not so much for your wife.

    That price isn't really out of line for individual coverage. You might find something "better" on the insurance exchanges that are supposed to be starting up this fall but you'll have to get into details like coverage levels and available local doctors then.

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  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    Health insurance premiums are inverse to membership pool size

    That sounds a tad high, but it's all in the spouse

    spouse insurance is sky high no matter where you go in america

    in some places in america, it's illegal to insure your spouse if they can get insurance themselves through an employer

    in short, your wife should try and find a job where she can get insurance, because it will save you 3 grand a year.

  • astronautcowboy3astronautcowboy3 Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm in New York, and right now she's stay-at-home, although she does plan to look for work when she gets to the US. How quickly she can find a job, and one that offers insurance at that, it a different story. That's what makes this plan appealing, even if it seems expensive. I am incredibly clueless, though, which is why I made the thread.
    EggyToast wrote: »
    What state do you live in? Have you looked into private insurance?

    A did a quick search (just now) but it didn't turn up anything promising.

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    The JRPG Club: Video game reviews, vocabulary lists and other resources for Japanese learners.
    PSN: astronautcowboy 3DS: 5343-8146-1833
    I have Sega, Nintendo and Xbox games and systems for sale. Please help me buy diapers.
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Just FYI, unless she's well into a professional career a lot of places in the US will delay the start of employment based insurance 3 to 6 months. I think that'll probably be changing with the Obamacare but would still be an issue right now.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    The jump from individual to individual plus spouse (as a ratio) seems inline. It just looks like the school isn't really subsidizing much. Basically those look like near private insured rates to me.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    New York had the highest healthcare insurance costs in the USA in 2012, so your costs don't seem that out of whack.

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  • HedgethornHedgethorn Associate Professor of Historical Hobby Horses In the Lions' DenRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    If you're in graduate school, your stipend is probably low enough that your child may be eligible for Medicaid (state-provided insurance, primarily for low income women and children). IANA health insurance expert, but I think your wife won't qualify, as she's not an American citizen. That would at least save you a few dollars.

    If you talk to someone in your grad school health department, they can probably get you information about who to talk to about signing up for Medicaid; it seems to be a fairly common fallback for graduate student families (or, at least, it was at my graduate school).

    One caveat: at least in some states, it can be very difficult to find a doctor who's willing to take additional Medicaid patients. If you go that route, you may well spend an entire afternoon on the phone calling doctors' offices, looking for someone willing to see your daughter.

    Edit: Information about Medicaid in New York state, along with income levels both for whole families and for infants and children are here: http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    NY has a program called Child Health Plus with is also for children of low income families.

    Look, a highly relevant link!

    Nod. Get treat. PSN: Quippish
  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    I work in NYC, my company pays approximately 12k/year for a family medical insurance plan (not including dental/vision which add a little more). We charge our employees approx. 1200/year so the rates you're being quoted aren't out of line at all. But, like all insurance plans, you need to check into your coverage. From what I understand, most local graduate schools don't offer the best insurance plans.

    What's your deductible? What's your deductible for prescriptions? Coinsurance and copay amounts? Max OOP per person? These are the important questions. And ask yourself how they apply to your situation (for example, if your wife needs a prescription that will be more important to you). Also note that birth control is apparently free with all health insurance plans now. So, that's cool.

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