How To Get Health Insurance After College

This year, 1.4 million graduates will be receiving their college degrees, but many of them will be losing their parents’ health insurance, according to The Wall Street Journal. Many group health plans cover employees’ children up to age 19 or 23, forcing many young men and women to find their own health insurance. The WSJ has assembled some ways to find health insurance and talks about how some young people are getting creative in the process. Details, inside…

Graphic courtesy of WSJ:Most people are unaware that at least 18 states have laws that allow parents to extend their coverage to older dependents, whether or not they are in college, often up to ages 23 or 25. A list of these states and their age limitations can be found here.

One creative student, Phillip Ngo, was dropped from his fathers’ employers’ insurance once he graduated college. Even though he had a degree, Phillip decided to enroll as an online student at a local college simply to regain his student status. Once he presented proof of enrollment to his fathers’ company, he was put back on the plan.

Getting health insurance is usually neither easy nor cheap, but if you familiarize yourself with your states’ laws and find out details about your parents’ existing plans, it could be a little easier than you think. Check out the WSJ’s full article to learn about how some other young people found health insurance.

Graduates Get Creative To Find Health Coverage [WSJ] (Thanks to Mary!)
Who is Insured and For How long? [NCSL]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. HIV 2 Elway says:

    How To Get Health Insurance After College
    Get a job with a big heartless corporation and have health and dental insurance cost you less than $65 a month.

  2. bohemian says:

    Move to Europe?
    I’m glad someone brought this up. We have one turning 18 next year. Off to go check our policy.

  3. chemmy says:

    Here’s a novel approach….

    Put that college degree to work and GET A JOB!!!!!!

    (Just remember to get one with health insurance)

  4. AnderBobo says:

    Thank god my mother’s company allowed her to extend her insurance policy to cover me up until age 25. I was on Cobra and it was EXPENSIVE and I never even needed it (thank god). However I honestly felt like just breaking my arm or something so I was getting my money’s worth. Insurance is that horrible thing you hate paying for when it is rarely used but when you do need it thank god you have it (and then wait for the company to deny coverage…).

  5. @HIV 2 Elway: Or join the military, which has its own network of veterinarians available to provide the best medical care you never had to pay for.

  6. sponica says:

    @chemmy: While getting a job is the smart thing to do, it’s not always easy. Most of my friends took about 6 months after graduating to find a job because they weren’t going into marketing or finance. I on the other hand decided to extend my education, and now I’m good to go until Dec 2009 because NH mandates coverage until age 26.

    As important medical insurance is, dental is equally important….

  7. @chemmy: Novel approach? Isn’t that why the vast majority of college graduates spent at least four years of their lives at the university working their asses off, eating ramen noodles, and going up to their eyeballs in hock? Do you think HR managers just line up at graduates’ front doors with job offers? News flash – it’s not 1998 anymore.

  8. littlemoose says:

    Check and see if your professional association (e.g., the American Bar Association) has discounts on individual plans or even a group plan. And, even if you’re not in the states listed above, look into what kind of coverage your state offers. For example, Missouri has some coverage available for high-risk people who have exhausted their COBRA coverage.

  9. Let’s vote in Obama! He wants to give us universal health care anyways.

    Then by the time I graduate college, I won’t have to get a soul-sucking job in a cubicle.

  10. Murph1908 says:

    @Motherfirefly:
    Correct!

    The rest of us who work get to pay for your health care!

  11. AnderBobo says:

    @Steaming Pile: Thank you, it is SO hard to get a job even as a college graduate right now. The job market is so stagnant and I’m competing with tens of thousands of people with the same piece of paper I have. I’d love to have the luxury of being able to choose my career as opposed to grasping at any pathetic job offer that has come my way.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    Health Savings Account – Along with a high deductible policy- If you are young and strong and have no health issues,it’s a great way to beat the system.

    Listen up,people – Young,healthy people sudsidize the costs of 45 year old obese, chain smokers who have unprotected sex with Haitians while skydiving.Face it, any health care visits that you make while unmarried and childless are probably just maintenence anyway.Put that $$ in a Health Savings Account and keep it for yourself instead of giving it to the insurance company to play around with. You can get a policy that covers BIG things (that is what insurance is really for)for $110 a month where I live from Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    But no. Most people don’t want to buy INSURANCE. They want what amounts to a healthcare payment scheme where every little look-see is covered down to the last $5.It costs way more than $5 to see a doctor.How do you think that the insurance company can guarantee an office visit for $5 ? Right- By charging you a ton up front (and taking premiums from people that NEVER go to the Dr.)and then if you use it,raising the premium next time your contract is renewed.

    Look before you leap… HSA/High Deductible insurance is just what it says it is.You see a doctor for a nagging headache,you will pay for an office visit.(But you can pay for it out of the HSA by putting money in there when you are not sick). Stay healthy and you keep the money to roll around in nekkid. Don’t sign up if you are about to carry a child. Don’t sign up if you have numerous health issues.

    My daughter did this 5 years ago and has amassed over $6000 of her own money in her HSA. That is money that did not go to Blue Cross. It’s hers. When she goes to the Dr.,she swipes her VISA HSA debit card to pay and calls it a day. No forms,no turndowns. If she should have something really bad happen,after her $3000 deductible, she is covered,so hospitals won’t turn her away.If she wins the health lottery and stays healthy, she can use the money in retiremet for Mai Tais and high stakes bingo games.All in all,a great deal for young,healthy folks.

  13. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Oh no, here comes the “You’re a dirty socialist,” “You’re a heartless Republican,” banter.

  14. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Steaming Pile: So what’s your solution? To put your hands in the air and give up? It’s not hard for a recent grad to find a solid job with good benifits if they’re qualified and diligent.

  15. flyingphotog says:

    If you major in something besides Underwater Basket Weaving, you ought to be able to find a job with health benefits. And here’s another novel idea, search for jobs and interviews BEFORE you actually graduate.

  16. Pizza Club says:

    @Murph1908:

    Maybe I’m idealistic, but everyone should have health care whether they have a job or not. Stop talking down to people. I have a job (with the government even) and have worked since I was 16. I have a college education and my current employer doesn’t offer health benefits to its IT staff.

  17. @Steaming Pile: Doesn’t starbucks give health insurance to full time employees? I think Whole Foods does too along with a nice discount on food. I bet there are other dead ends that offer the same if worse come to worse.

    @Murph1908: People only care until it helps one of their own, oh the selfishness that we have become, welcome to America.

  18. @Murph1908: I was just trying to be the snarky college kid! I didn’t mean to offend. I’m working in Advertising — so my job is going to eventually suck the life out of me anyways, and possibly cause me to burst an artery.

    @Pizza_Club: I agree, I have been working since I was 16 and although I’ve had full time jobs and internships I still have to pay premiums to get health insurance through my school. Who knows what kind of benefit packages I’m going to be looking at once I graduate.

  19. Bladefist says:

    After college, get a job. Versus coming onto consumerist w/ your socialist ideas. Get a job, then come here with your conservative ideas :)

  20. Bladefist says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: I’m flabbergasted. I can’t possibly understand how this is happening. I started interviewing DURING college. I graduated on a saturday, and started my first job on Monday. How worthless are these people?

  21. GinaLouise says:

    After I graduated from college in 2005, it took me over a year to land a full-time job with benefits (internships and freelance gigs don’t come with healthcare). I have a million and one health problems, but I was able to get most of them taken care of through a program in San Mateo County (next to San Francisco) called the Well Program.

    It’s for lower-income folks (hello, recent graduates!) who don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medical or whatever. I paid $250 bucks upfront, but after that, there is basic care and prescriptions for a relatively small co-pay ($40 for an ER visit, $10 for prescriptions, all the way up to major surgery). It was a bitch getting non-emergency appointments, but it was a huge relief knowing I wouldn’t bankrupt myself if I broke a leg or something. I hope other counties across the nation have similar programs.

  22. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Motherfirefly: All jobs suck the life out of you, that’s why they have to pay you and not vice-versa. So long as you can leave work and work and have hobbies that make you forget about your job (ie. binge drinking) it’s not so bad.

  23. @Bladefist: It’s hardly socialist. Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and England are all capitalist countries with a strong economic standing. A lot of them enforce capitalist ideals to reinforce competition between the companies. Consumerist actually posted the story a couple of weeks ago. The documentary is streaming, I recommend watching it.

    [consumerist.com]

    Also, I’ve been working my summers and doing part time internships while in classes (I actually start mine with Consumerist next week). I still plan on attending Graduate school once I finish my undergraduate degree. My generation is hardly worthless.

    @Steaming Pile: You’re totally right, it isn’t 1998 anymore, and the job market isn’t at all what it used to be. Besides, college graduates are entering the job market in higher and higher numbers each year. There’s enough of an issue with conflicts in the workplace with boomers, and a ton of the naive ones are doing that whole “follow my dreams” spiel.

  24. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Bladefist: It took me a few months to accept a job after graduating. I have to say, health insurance wasn’t a high priority at the time. Getting a paycheck was.

  25. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Motherfirefly: Yu can advance your career and pay faster if you work and go to grad school at the same time (assuming you’re going for an MBA). My MBA cost me nothing and the promotions came fast and frequent as I apply what I learned everyday in the office. People with advanced business degrees without business experience have a serious lack of credibility.

  26. Bladefist says:

    @Motherfirefly: I would be okay with ONE year of Medicare to college graduates. See, I do have a compassionate side!

    Congrats on the internship.

    I don’t know what generation you are. I graduated college 2 years ago, and I still have 2 brothers who are in college, close to graduating, and they are worthless. My friends who graduated with me, are mixed. Some worthless, some not.

    I know that about 6 months prior to graduating, all I could think about was buying a nice car, a house, throwing away money at the bars, and I was just extremely motivated to get out there. I mean you had to hold me back. Companies were telling me to come back after I graduated.

    I also understand I am a bit lucky, I am in a field where it is easier to find jobs. But my attitude was always in the right place.

  27. bohemian says:

    Something else to remember is that some jobs offer health insurance but it is so crappy it is essentially useless.

  28. Bladefist says:

    @bohemian: And I’ve experienced that as well. 350$/mo insurance. The important thing is, you’re getting paid, so you can afford it. You may have to drive a Pinto, but that’s life in the big city.

  29. Leah says:

    @Bladefist: not all of us are so lucky to get a job with health insurance benefits. I’ve accepted that being a field biologist and environmental educator probably means that I’ll have to pay for my own health insurance myself, but I far prefer my job to working in an office.

    For the record, I’ve held many jobs in the 3 years since I’ve graduated college, and I only had health insurance at one job (thankfully, the one that I worked for two years — teaching at a university while getting my master’s degree).

    When I don’t have employer-provided health insurance, I just turn to ehealthinsurance.com, review my coverage options, and pick a plan that works for me. So far, this has served me well *knock on wood.*

  30. Bladefist says:

    @Leah: Yes. I had some friends who got private insurance on their own. It actually can be affordable.

  31. weakdome says:

    I never graduated college, and I’ve held a job for the past 5 years that gives me health+dental for right around $100/month. Good thing I don’t have a degree, apparently I’d never have found it.
    And no, it’s not Starbucks.

  32. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: It’s not affordable at all if you have any relatively serious preexisting medical condition. Those of who do, are screwed without group coverage through an employer. Are you aware that there are people who pay like $7,000 per month for individual health insurance (these are usually people who have had cancer or something like that)?

  33. WakefulD says:

    I am still in college and am having a bitch of a time finding health insurance I can afford. My mother has no insurance of her own, so I can’t be carried on hers. I used to have Medicaid, I was dropped when I turned 21. So now I’m trying to find a plan I can afford on the approx $350 a month I make at my work-study job, which I also use to pay my bills and eat off of. Fun times.

  34. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @johnva: There are exceptions to everything. Are you aware that there are people who pay like $60 a month for health insurance? You can’t base things statistical outliers.

  35. johnva says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: The problem is that what you call “statistical outliers” are people, first off. They shouldn’t be written off by society just because they got sick, and that’s essentially what happens if they can’t get on a group plan (and it can be hard to get/keep a corporate-type job that offers those kind of benefits when you’re going through cancer treatment or something like that). Second off, it’s not just “exceptions”. Individual insurers basically don’t want anyone who has anything known to be wrong with them as a customer. Almost everyone will have at least some history of health problems in their medical records by the time they are 30-35 or so. I’m only 26 and I am already uninsurable at any price in the individual health insurance market because I have a non-life-threatening genetic disease, even if I sign an exclusion disclaiming their liability for that condition. So I guess I’m stuck with corporate jobs for life.

  36. johnva says:

    I should add more explicitly that one of the worst aspects of our medical system in this country is that if you have something serious or chronically wrong with you, you need a job with good benefits to get insurance. But if you are really sick, it’s really hard to get or keep that kind of job. It’s a nasty Catch-22 situation that a lot of people don’t understand unless it happens to them.

  37. johnva says:

    @johnva: And that’s without even getting into what happens to all the people without college educations and whatnot who have trouble even getting any job that offers group health insurance. I suspect that group is the largest part of the 47 million uninsured in this country.

  38. ironchef says:

    @Bladefist: Individual policies are ALWAYS less affordable than a group policy. If you do get any, you also have to put up with tougher entry restrictions (like having perfect health and being young).

  39. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: I think you misinterpret the stance of a lot of conservatives. I think we spend so much time drilling the point AGAINST UHC, that you think we are 100% okay with our current health care situation.

    I can’t speak for all conservatives, but I am for some reform as well. Tort Reform and things such as that to reduce costs would be a start. I am younger then you, and have a non-life-threatening illness as well, and when it comes to my next job, I’ll have a pre-existing condition that will make things very complex and expensive.

    I am looking for answers to solve that. I don’t think it’s right that these private insurers can all collectively refuse to insure you. I don’t have any answers. But I know Government UHC is NOT the answer. Because they will do it wrong, and use it as a form of wealth redistribution.

    I don’t want that. I want you to get the services you need. But I don’t want to pay for it. So reform that could make us both happy is what is needed.

  40. HIV 2 Elway says:

    If you’re good at what you do, its not hard to stay employed. Our secretary went through chemo last fall. Sure we could have replaced her but she was a very valuable asset to our group so we cut her some slack and let her take her time and ease back into work.

    Make any decisions or policy, either public or in business, based on statistical outliers is irresponsible. In any situation it’s impossible to please or accommodate everyone, that’s just the way it is.

  41. barty says:

    @Snarkysnake: You took the words out of my mouth. As you said, people look at the prices of what you’d expect to get from an employer (low deductible, cheap or free office visits) and freak at the price and complain that health insurance is “unaffordable”.

  42. ironchef says:

    @johnva: I had a friend in high school who got crushed in a hit and run accident. 3 months in an intensive care unit. Reconstructed legs, and steel plate in his spine. I can say for sure NOBODY wants to insure him on his own (and sadly…it’s not his fault. You have to get mad at a system when we as a society screw accident victims like that).

  43. Bladefist says:

    @johnva: Also, as people who both have conditions, we need to realize it’s going to be more expensive to exist. We pulled the short straw. We have to deal with it. I deal with it. I remain positive and seek private answers. Conservatives aren’t a group of people who all have peachy lives. We just remain positive and want to be self sufficient in fixing our problems.

    @ironchef: I agree, but that’s life. Health Insurance should be paid right after mortgage/rent. Before car payment. If you do it that way, you can afford it.

  44. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Bladefist: Thanks to a kick ass girl friend and a tunned piano, I have a pretty peachy life. Then again, life in KC has always been good.

  45. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: tuned piano, jackass.

  46. Speak says:

    I haven’t investigated yet, but the Freelancers Union apparently offers group-rate health insurance in certain places around the country.

    I can empathize with those college graduates who are having difficulty either finding a job or finding one with health insurance. In my industry, many full-time jobs with benefits have been cut. Companies instead rely on modestly-paid contractors or freelancers (or unpaid interns, in the case of some unscrupulous companies) so they don’t have to offer any benefits. It might be a prudent business decision but it’s not so good for those writers, editors, illustrators, photographers, etc., who want to make a secure living.

  47. Bladefist says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: What do you do for a living?

  48. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: I know you guys want reform, and I’m glad you can recognize that the status quo situation is not working for a lot of people. All I ask is that you look at all the economic studies and such that are out there about things like HSA plans, single-payer, individual health insurance, etc before you go to an ideologically-driven stance. I think we can all recognize that health care reform is an enormously complex issue, and that there are no easy answers: now. I actually used to agree with your position in large part, until I looked at the actual facts and analysis experts have already done in detail.

    @Bladefist: I understand that in this country I will be expected to pay more for my healthcare through no fault of my own, and I accept that. In fact, I already do pay more out of pocket than most people do, even on a good group plan through my employer. But something is wrong when I can’t get individual health insurance at any price, even if I don’t ask them to pay for the condition I already have. This is part of why I have a huge problem with treating people as statistics. Some actuary somewhere has probably determined that if you have one preexisting condition that you’re more likely to have more, so they just refuse you coverage rather than deal with you. They don’t care about you as an individual at all; they’re just going by aggregate cost savings.

  49. Speak says:

    An interesting essay written by a doctor appeared in the Times yesterday. One doctor he talked to said the following:

    I’d write a prescription … and then insurance companies would put restrictions on almost every medication. … If I ordered an M.R.I., I’d have to explain to a clerk why I wanted to do the test. … Managed care is like a magnet attached to you. Thirty percent of my hospital admissions are being denied. There’s a 45-day limit on the appeal. You don’t bill in time, you lose everything. You’re discussing this with a managed-care rep on the phone and you think: “You’re sitting there, I’m sitting here. How do you know anything about this patient?”

    Pretty sobering, when you find out what the doctors have to put up with when they deal with patients’ insurance.

  50. battra92 says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: Get a job with a big heartless corporation and have health and dental insurance cost you less than $65 a month.

    Utility companies are good for this. If they offer BCBS all the better. :)

    While in college I paid out of pocket for every doctor visit. Right now I’d have a higher deductable to save on cost since Deval Patrick demands I pay health insurance instead of letting me pay out of pocket for Dr. visits.

  51. Jesse says:

    @Bladefist:

    Third party payers in the first place are an enormous part of the problem. When health care is relatively cheap to the user, they are more likely to go to the doctor for the common cold and other BS that doesn’t need medical treatment.

    I’m a big fan of HDHP insurance with Health Savings Accounts. Sure, the deductible is high, but it provides a safety net for major items (e.g., cancer) and the HSA is a pre-tax savings account that can cover health costs if you need to go to the doctor or get a prescription. People also go to the doctor less with these, which reduces demand. However, that is my opinion.

  52. johnva says:

    @Jesse: HSAs are not a great idea for reducing aggregate healthcare costs, though they certainly can save healthy individuals some money. The problem is that most healthcare spending is not from healthy individuals, so the HSA does nothing to combat the bulk of the problem (while shifting even more cost burden onto people who aren’t healthy). AND it discourages preventative care. Getting less care when you’re healthy isn’t necessarily the best way to reduce your costs over your lifetime.

  53. battra92 says:

    @Bladefist: Tort reform, tax free medical savings plans, giving co-ops and small businesses the insurance buying power of the big boys etc. I’m for all that. I just don’t want the government to do it.

  54. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @Bladefist: I’m a program manger in the research and development department for an engineering firm.

  55. helloashley says:

    This article resonates with me…in the future, I may be attending a school program that’s part-time only, so I wouldn’t have coverage as a full-time student. I thought about getting a fulltime 3rd shift job, but the program’s clinicals can be at any time during the night or day so when would I sleep? If I try to buy my own individual insurance, I might be rejected for pre-existing conditions or the premium would be so high I couldn’t pay it anyway. It’s definitely scary…

  56. m.ravian says:

    @sototallycarl:
    you have work 20 hours a week at starbucks to get full medical coverage. while it can be a shitty, soul-sucking job (and a great, fulfilling one), it worked for me and provided insurance in the three and a half years i took between undergrad and grad school. not to mention i also had a 401(k) i rolled over into a Roth and the nearly $1000 i cashed out in stock options.

  57. lalaland13 says:

    After college, I went six months without insurance. It took two months to find a job, another month before I started the job, then 90 days before my insurance kicked in. I’m not sure if the 90 days thing is standard or what, but now I have insurance and it really makes it tough to consider leaving this job anytime soon-not that it’s a bad job-because I don’t want to have a gap again.

    And I started looking months before I graduated. It’s just a tough market, I guess.

  58. Jesse says:

    HSA’s do put the patient more in control of their medical dollars vs. highly restrictive managed care plans. Also, they are more likely to inquire about and choose cheaper alternatives. A paper the Cato institute put out on these noted that health outcomes were not any better off with either the Health Savings Account or managed care options.

    The system does need to be expanded more to increase contribution limits and insurance choices and allow the patient to exert even more control over their health care dollars.

    [www.cato.org]

  59. sisedi says:

    What if they give the health care tax breaks that “heartless corporations” get to the individuals instead? Then private insurance would be feasible for many of the employed persons.

    UHC wont work, doesn’t work. When Canadians stop visiting America for health care, I’ll change my mind.

  60. Snarkysnake says:

    @johnva:

    “AND it discourages preventative care. Getting less care when you’re healthy isn’t necessarily the best way to reduce your costs over your lifetime.”

    AND it encourages people to schedule a totally unneccessary office visit because it only “costs” a $5 co-pay. When a visit to the sawbones costs less than a combo meal at McDonalds,the law of gravity is being violated somewhere.

  61. HIV 2 Elway says:

    @sisedi: I agree that the solution will be in the form of increased incentive. However, there needs to be incentives for the employer and employee. My insurance costs me $720 a year through my work. However, we can get up to $350 back if we participate in healthy living programs which include things like going to doctor, dentist, keeping an exercise log, quitting smoking, taking a healthy cooking class.

  62. barty says:

    Preventative care, IMHO, is WAY overblown. A once a year checkup may be a good idea, but some folks have taken it to mean getting dozens of tests run every year for every possible ailment or condition. At some point you have to put a limit on how much “care” someone can get and usually the best way to do that is pricing. Keep things affordable enough for someone that is sick and for the occasional check-up, but high enough to keep the paranoid from clogging up the system.

    Funny how we have folks well into their 80s and 90s who managed to survive without having every single orifice of their body constantly probed and monitored.

  63. RudyWaltz says:

    Yeah, I resent the fact that people think that college graduates who don’t immediately have jobs with insurance are lazy. Guess what? Myself and most of my friends started looking for jobs at least 2 months before graduating, and we are still unemployed! Huzzah shitty, shitty job market!

  64. Jesse says:

    @RudyWaltz:

    It takes awhile for new grads. I graduated in May 2007 and didn’t start my current job until October. It’s that whole you need experience to get a job but you need a job to get experience problem.

  65. RudyWaltz says:

    @Jesse: Yup! Someone on Jez the other day said that you know something is wrong when you need a certain amount of experience to get an entry level job. So, you know…those “kids these days” comments are unwarranted.

  66. RudyWaltz says:

    @RudyWaltz: argh, whatevs.

  67. Bladefist says:

    @sisedi: You’re right it doesn’t work. If these people who think it works would just visit a chat room, they would real quick. You can go on DalNet, join a Canadian chat room, England chat room, and just send out a blanket question, and quickly find out the truth.

    The problem is the politics of it. The people who are pro UHC want examples of it working. They seek stories where UHC was succesful, and use it as the base of their argument. They forget that every country out there is political as well. Is there ANY program in the United States that we all agree is 100% successful?

    Same with other Countries. In debates with some Korean friends, half of them like their UHC, half hate it. This last year they elected a President who said he was going to get rid of UHC. So, if it works so well, hmmm, why are they getting rid of it?

  68. Bladefist says:

    @Bladefist: And BTW, Korea is a great Country to compare USA with. They are capitalist in nature, and have a very healthy economy wrapped around innovation. The major difference is their physical size and density.

  69. johnva says:

    @Jesse: You don’t think the Cato Institute might be just a wee bit biased on this issue? I’ve seen studies that say that HSAs DO create worse health outcomes. Anyway, there isn’t good long-term research on this because they are still fairly new. They may not cause harm in the short-term, but long-term is the question.

    @Snarkysnake: My copays are quite a bit higher than that. I have to go to the doctor enough at it is; I’m not going to go for colds and stuff.

    @barty: Well, some preventative care is very well proven to have positive effects on your health for life, such as vaccines and Pap smears. And yet studies have shown that HSA plans may make people much less likely to get even these obviously beneficial preventative things.

    The other problem I’ve got with just using “pricing” as a way to reduce waste is that it doesn’t hit everyone equally. People who have chronic illnesses already pay much more for medical care, and raising out-of-pocket costs justs hits them even harder. Meanwhile, it doesn’t actually discourage them from getting medical care, because their care is non-optional. And chronically ill people constitute a large percentage of all health costs.

  70. johnva says:

    @Bladefist: It works better than what we’re currently doing. Anecdotal evidence like what you’re talking about is not going to convince me that epidemiological and cost statistics are wrong.

    No government program is going to be 100% successful. They aren’t here, and they aren’t anywhere. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing or that they aren’t better than what we’re doing here. [en.wikipedia.org]

    People may reject what they are familiar with, partly because the “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”.

  71. NoWin says:

    @HIV 2 Elway: “All jobs suck the life out of you, ….”.

    Your comment made me chuckle, simply because it’s true. I’m heading for a beer….

  72. tqbf says:

    Short term health insurance coverage is a bad deal. You’re basically paying for nothing: most health events will extend past the 1-month coverage commitment, at which point you’ll be promptly dropped from coverage with a nice fat preexisting condition.

    Health insurance isn’t there to pay for your doctor’s visit — it’s to protect you from financial catastrophe. If you’re a college student who doesn’t care, get high-deductable coverage to keep you from going bankrupt if your appendix bursts, and then pay the doc-in-the-box out of pocket.

  73. kentuckienne says:

    You can check out [healthinsuranceinfo.net] for good information on the health insurance options available in all 50 states.

  74. anyanka323 says:

    I graduated a year ago and have been working at a part time job that doesn’t offer health insurance to part timers for 8 months. Sad part is that the full timers who do have it half of them are pack a day smokers and one is a walking liability who drives up everyone’s co-pay. The healthy people under 30 who are part timers can’t buy in because we’re not full time.

    I think employers who do not offer health insurance to all their employees should have to pay into a government fund that would offer low cost insurance to people who do not have health insurance. Maybe the extra taxes will make them think twice about their internal policies.

    I think universal health care is the way to go. I really wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes assuming that I actually benefited from my tax dollars. I also hope that people who smoke and are clinically obese have to pay extra because the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for their self-imposed health problems.

  75. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Insurance the way we have it will not work. A government guaranteed system would be much better. No one should be denied any treatment and no one should pay co-pays or deductibles. The government just needs to structure payment based on quality and results. Our current system isn’t set up for that kind of billing. But moving billing and records to an electronic system makes it possible and cheap. Imagine going to the doctor and having them prescribe the best medication and not just the newest. Or having doctors not prescribe useless medications like unneeded antibiotics just to give a patient a placebo cure. Instead doctors give you only what you need and won’t be prevented from giving you “experimental procedures or medications”.

  76. johnva says:

    @anyanka323: That sounds very similar to aspects of Obama’s plan. I do think at the very least employers should have to pay the government if they don’t offer health insurance and we intend to keep the employer plans around. Otherwise there is a temptation for them to drop very low wage workers on the taxpayers via Medicaid, etc.

  77. veronykah says:

    @Bladefist: My question is, if we live in America and we have UHC couldn’t those with the means who are dissatisfied with its care just PAY themselves and get what they are looking for healthcare wise?
    If you are in the military you get free dental, but there isn’t anything stopping you from finding a private doctor and spending your own money for better care is there?
    @barty: As for preventative care…PAP smears, dental visits and eye exams are all preventative care that SHOULD be done at least once a year. Its not all full body scans for hypochondriacs.

  78. Jesse says:

    @Concerned_Citizen:

    The assertion that all costs to the consumer would disappear is ludicrous. Yes, the upfront costs would go away, but they are simply moved to the tax base. That sounds like a welfare state program and income redistribution to me.

    If you want a taste of the greatness of government run health care, join the military and source your health care through the military hospitals.

  79. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Bladefist:

    We’ll see how idealistically capitalist you are when all those SOCIALIST countries compete us into the ground with the advantage that is universal health coverage.

    It IS a competitive advantage, and it IS hurting the United States not having it.

  80. Bladefist says:

    @veronykah: Yea but that would be very expensive. Paying taxes for UHC and paying for private insurance? If you let people opt out of UHC, then ya, that would be fantastic.

    @TechnoDestructo: I know you think that the world started the day you were born. But socialism and capitalism have been around a long time. We already won. What are you talking about?

  81. TechnoDestructo says:

    @veronykah:

    Depending on how the system works, they’d probably already be paying into a government-sponsored system, reducing their ability to afford private care.

  82. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Bladefist:

    I’m talking about how you seem to believe that:
    1. Pure capitalism is always the answer
    2. There is such a thing as a free market in anything other than non-subsidized commodities (health care isn’t one)
    3. That “Capitalists” with the government in their pocket like ours, aren’t closer to Mercantalists or Fascists than Capitalists
    3. Anything that isn’t your ideal form of capitalism is socialism

    Oh, and Capitalism didn’t win. Without Europe, Japan, Korea, etc. all these mixed-system-having-countries, there is NO FUCKING WAY the west would have won the Cold War.

    I’m saying you’re as much of an idealist as any red-flag-waving communist, and you’re just as wrong.

    It isn’t CAPITALISM that wins. It’s COMPETITION. Capitalism wins only where it encourages competition…and not just in some idealistic “well, it’s technically possible” way, but in a practical “it is happening now” way. Some of the systems profiled on that Frontline documentary (and a couple I was familiar with before that) are better at encouraging that competition than is the US system. (Coverage tied to employment discourages shopping by the covered)

    The US system is BROKEN. It only works for those for whom money is no object. For everyone else (including the Military, if you’ve ever been) it either doesn’t work, or contains some trap into which you could fall where it won’t work.

  83. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Hey I saw Sicko and Michael Moore says our health care system is bogus. I’m moving to Cuba.

  84. julieannie says:

    I lost my insurance coverage the day I graduated college and even though I had a full-time job 4 days after graduation, they didn’t offer insurance. Since I had cancer at 19/20, I couldn’t afford to be uninsured. So I had to get a second job to stay covered. It was the worst experience. I ended up leaving both companies and pushing up my wedding date to stay covered.

  85. Bladefist says:

    @TechnoDestructo: You talk like you know me. You’re debating my beliefs without even knowing my beliefs. You sound like an angry wacko. I’m done.

  86. sisedi says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Can you please provide examples as I am having an incredibly difficult time coming up with them myself.

    Is China’s system running us into the ground with its entire economy worth less than the health care industry we’re arguing about, oh yea, I’m shaking in my poor and stupid American boots.

    Is Cuba the number 1 manufacturer of anything other than perhaps poor desolate people praying for the day they have a government they won’t have to fear?

    If Socialism (Obama) saves this country from the minor problems it has (on a world scale) then I will bend over and kiss your ass. A UHC that literally helps everyone equally and well enough that a cancer patient will never have to wait to be treated. This will never happen, ever.

    Taxes pay for these “changes” and Obama can’t wait to tax the hell out of everyone for any possible reason because that’s the solution to every one of our problems! “Digging for our own oil wont lower the price for $5 years…” Taxing the oil industry will never lower the price of gas, ever you dumb F@CK! I can’t wait until he ruins this country, then a real president with balls of conservative steel can be elected.

  87. TechnoDestructo says:

    @Bladefist:

    I’ve read some of your other posts. You’re either a troll or you are a real-life cartoon caricature of a Republican.

    I could be drawing a straight line where there exists more complexity, but I’ve seen no evidence of this.

    @sisedi:

    It’s that kind of black-and-white thinking that has gotten us into this mess. (And which got China and Cuba into the messes they’ve historically gotten into)

  88. barty says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Last time I checked, we’re still alot better off than most of your “Hero” socialist countries. If our politicians would stop putting at a competitive disadvantage in terms of taxes and regulation, we’d be running circles around them.

    People seem “happy” when they’re not having to write the check for those services every month, but I also have noticed on my travels that many of them aren’t able to enjoy some of the same activities or opportunities I am because they get the piss taxed out of them at every turn.

    I agree, competition is the key. But right now, our government, the very one so many of you are so willing to rush towards for a solution to healthcare and lord knows what else, is the exact one who stifles competition through tax policy that takes the power of choice out of the hands of the individual. Watch what would happen if the government allowed me to take the same money my employer is paying for my heath insurance, tax free, and shop for the best plan that fit MY needs and MY budget. You’d see prices drop like a rock! Right now, the industry knows they’re dealing with a bunch of relatively lethargic companies or HR firms that don’t really rock the boat too much because of the costs involved with moving from one insurance company to another, so there is little incentive for them to control cost, provide consistently good service and not reject claims for ridiculous reasons. Put the power the power back in the hands of MILLIONS, instead of a few, and people will tell these poor-performing, rip-off insurance companies where to stick it and never look back. A funny thing happens when companies have to actively compete for market share, instead of simply riding the cash cow of guaranteed revenue, despite whatever ridiculous policies they choose to implement, such as considering a yeast infection as a reason to deny someone coverage or charging them ridiculous premiums.

    I’m not going to say its a perfect solution for every situation, but it is a good sight better than the situation we have today.

  89. TechnoDestructo says:

    @barty:

    What are my hero socialist countries again? I don’t know because I don’t recall mentioning idolizing any.

    Unless you mean those FUCKING COMMIES in Japan and Korea. In which case…are we really better off with a situation where it is possible…easy, in fact…for someone (even the insured) to be financially ruined by an illness?

    And how long are we going to be better off than them…even in PPP terms (and we aren’t better than EVERYONE in those terms)…if we keep losing jobs to countries where employers don’t have to worry about health care (in some cases because employees are treated like crap, but in others because THEY’RE A BUNCH OF SOCIALISTS!)?

    This is not an all-or-nothing black-and-white proposition, and treating it like one (either by desperately trying to maintain the broken status quo, or by actually advocating a totally non-competitive, rigid actual-undeniably-100-percent-socialist system with no choice built in) is just going to destroy and end more lives.

    The capitalist crusaders are no better than Mao.

  90. sisedi says:

    @TechnoDestructo: People are always going on and on about America losing jobs to other countries and yes, it does happen, but jobs are continuously being created here. The unemployment rate is still low in historical standards.

    And if you think capitalism is the reason companies move manufacturing to places like China or Taiwan you are most certainly wrong. Things like the “minimum wage” and employee taxes and fees paid to the government keep companies from seeing reason to manufacture at home. If we pull back on erroneous regulations and keep the government from being a bloated spending machine, industry wont see need to divert jobs to outsiders and therefore can keep more of our money in the country.

    Capitalist crusaders no better than Mao because they want to turn a profit? Some companies do commit crimes and even kill people but no better than Mao? Mao who slaughtered millions of people Mao? Or am I thinking of the wrong chinaman? Are you one of those that compare Bush to Hitler too?

  91. ironchef says:

    @sisedi: more accurately…Bush=Herbert Hoover. Except Hoover didn’t waste as much money or lives.

  92. sisedi says:

    Oh Hoover, wrong place, wrong time. Correct me if I’m wrong on my history which is easy for me to achieve, Hoover’s presidency marked the beginning of the depression, yes? Many blamed him but in reality it wasn’t exactly his fault… details escape me. Does Bush drag?

  93. SexierThanJesus says:

    @sisedi: We already have one of your precious “Balls Of Steel” presidents in there now. How’s that working out?

  94. LostAngeles says:

    I willingly shelled out the $30 to join the Alumni Association since I’m actually getting out about a quarter late, my school insurance runs out either that Friday of finals or the next Friday.

    I have migraines and I have a (very large, dormant) pineal cyst that needs to get checked up on every year.

    By MRI.

    You know, the $6-4k 20-minute scan.

    @sisedi: Wrong Hoover. Herbert Hoover was the president. J. Edgar Hoover was the asshole head of the FBI who was a closet transvestite.

  95. LostAngeles says:

    Crap, I forgot a sentence.

    If I was done in Spring Quarter, my insurance would cover me until the beginning of Fall Quarter, so about 3/30-9/25