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BlueLghtning

Nationwide coverage between BCBS, UHC, Cigna, Aetna PPO plans

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Hey guys, I have a general question about the 4 mentioned insurance companies (BCBS, UHC, Aetna, Cigna) PPO plans, would there be a clear advantage to one over the others for nationwide healthcare or one that may be a lot worse and stay away from? My wife and I are hoping to go full time next year (spring to summer time), but my work insurance renewals are due by next week and I'm trying to decide what makes a better choice keeping in mind we might be on the road before our next renewals. I will still be working on the road at my current job, so my healthcare will not change. My company is based out of NE, but I live in GA now and I don't really see changing my Domicile from GA. For the past couple years I've bounced between BCBS & UHC without much issue. This year I had BCBS, but they have turned into the most expensive option for next year by a good margin on the silver plans. UHC comes in at the 2nd most expensive and then Aetna & Cigna coming in as the cheapest option this year for me on Silver plans.

 

This is more a personal decision, but I'm also debating on the option of stepping down to a Bronze or Bronze plus which also opens up the HSA option and I could put the savings I would get from the lower premiums in there for things that do come up with my health and start building up a nice cushion in the years I don't really have anything going on. I'm 41 and in good health and most years I don't even come close to meeting my deductible or out of pocket maximum so I'm paying extra for the safety net in case I had something major happen. 2015 was the exception to that when I tore my ACL in the beginning of the year, had surgery on that and then the months of PT that followed. I easily met my deductible and out of pocket maximum that year and was glad I had the Silver, but most years it's just extra premiums for no benefit.

 

In the past the premiums were reasonable for me to consider Silver for the extra safety net, but between a 40% increase in 2015, a 45% increase in 2016 and now a 67% increase this year, they are just getting widely out of control and I'm starting to think I should be using this time that I'm in decent health to start building an HSA vs just throwing that at premiums I'm not really using.

 

The only thing I regularly see a Dr for is my dermatologist 2x a year just to get all my moles checked out. I'm on no medication with no ongoing health issues, so I'm starting to question paying all the extra in the premiums when I could be building a safety net in an HSA. I plan on coming back to GA for my dermatologist as he's one of the top ones and has done a terrific job with me. I've had Melanoma twice in the past, and both times were caught early before they could spread and I've been cancer free for 5+ years now. I certainly worry about a recurrence, but as I said my Dr is great there and we stay on top of that.

 

The Silver plans are a 70/30 with reasonable co-pays while the Bronze and Bronze plus are 80/20 after the deductible has been met. The deductible's on the Bronze plans are reasonable and wouldn't put a huge strain on me to keep that in a budget when needed in case it wasn't a good year. Surprisingly, the bronze plus has a pretty good lower out of pocket maximum compared to the Silver and the bronze is just a bit higher than the silver.

 

So any feedback is welcome.

 

Oh yeah, my wife has her own insurance right now. Her needs are a little higher than mine with some regular medications and visits although still in overall in good health. She currently has her own coverage through her work, but she will be leaving her job when we go full time. At that time we'll have to see if we can find her insurance on the open market or whether or not leaving a job qualifies her to join my plan outside an enrollment period? (I'm not sure how that works). My plan with a spouse on it jumps up considerably in price, so we'll have to weigh the different options when that time comes.

 

Thanks. Dan

Edited by BlueLghtning

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My wife and I are hoping to go full time next year (spring to summer time), but my work insurance renewals are due by next week and I'm trying to decide what makes a better choice keeping in mind we might be on the road before our next renewals. I will still be working on the road at my current job, so my healthcare will not change. My company is based out of NE, but I live in GA now and I don't really see changing my Domicile from GA. For the past couple years I've bounced between BCBS & UHC without much issue.

 

So when you start full timing, you'll still be working and getting your company's health insurance?

 

When you stop working I believe you're eligible through COBRA to continue your company's plan for 18 months.

 

After that, if you have to purchase your own health insurance, GA is currently a bad choice for a domicile. For example, the are currently no BCBS PPO plans available in any GA county. There are ACA PPO plans available in GA from other insurance carriers, but only in 41 of GA's 159 counties. The situation looks identical for off-exchange health plans in GA.

 

We've had both BCBS and UHC PPO health plans. Only BCBS had a nationwide network. Be careful.

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So when you start full timing, you'll still be working and getting your company's health insurance?

 

When you stop working I believe you're eligible through COBRA to continue your company's plan for 18 months.

 

After that, if you have to purchase your own health insurance, GA is currently a bad choice for a domicile. For example, the are currently no BCBS PPO plans available in any GA county. There are ACA PPO plans available in GA from other insurance carriers, but only in 41 of GA's 159 counties. The situation looks identical for off-exchange health plans in GA.

 

We've had both BCBS and UHC PPO health plans. Only BCBS had a nationwide network. Be careful.

 

Hi Zulu.Yes when we go full time I'll still be working for my company and on my companies insurance. I've been working remote for 5+ years already so no issues there.

 

However, my wife's insurance will be ending as she will be leaving her job voluntary when we head out full time. She is going to work on starting her own business she can do from the road. So yes, I have some concerns about her coverage. Cobra certainly might be a possibility to hold her over until my open enrollment period comes around and I can add her to mine.

 

I had read that GA was not that great for for coverage and looking through that link I see no PPO plans for our county. Any idea what 41 counties in GA are covered? Is there a list somewhere? :( We may have to look more into changing our domicile then since that is a big concern.

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I had read that GA was not that great for for coverage and looking through that link I see no PPO plans for our county. Any idea what 41 counties in GA are covered? Is there a list somewhere?

 

Here's my list of PPOs (remember that not every PPO plan has a national network) . . .

 

Note that BCBS only offers HMO plans in GA.

 

ga-aca-ppo-plans-20161.jpg

 

 

 

We may have to look more into changing our domicile then since that is a big concern.

Here's where ACA PPO plans currently stand (they'll certainly be changes in 2017 and beyond) . . . Where the PPOs are,

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.Yes when we go full time I'll still be working for my company and on my companies insurance. I've been working remote for 5+ years already so no issues there.

What about getting her on your insurance as a dependent? Most employers have a provision for that.

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What about getting her on your insurance as a dependent? Most employers have a provision for that.

 

Correct, that is an option on my insurance to add a spouse. What I don't know is if I can add her outside our normal open enrollment period when the time comes that she loses her insurance for leaving her job? I've read where certain life changes qualify for changes outside the normal enrollment period, I.E. Marriage/Divorce, Baby, and I saw a mention if your spouse/dependent lost their insurance coverage, but not sure how that works exactly? The other thing keeping me from adding her now is that there is a clause that if you add a spouse that has access to their own insurance through their work, you must pay a fine/surcharge because of that. I forget the exact price, but it's pretty significant.

 

I just saw that my job is having a couple Q&A sessions on our insurance this week, so I plan to attend those. I should be able to get some questions answered.

 

Thanks for the help

Edited by BlueLghtning

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I just saw that my job is having a couple Q&A sessions on our insurance this week, so I plan to attend those. I should be able to get some questions answered.

Keep us posted on how things work out. The changing laws on health insurance have sure made this issue complicated!

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hay zulu.

i have read you are the one to talk about health care.

all this just goes over my head, i have been on kaiser for almost all of my life. so a easy peazy deal. but i will be out in july 2025, yes a time away but that goes fast.

you bounce around all these letters and i have no clue as to what they mean.

any source i can read and get good information so i can be set and ready in time? sure things will change by then but at least i can read and understand it.

 

packnrat

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3 hours ago, packnrat said:

all this just goes over my head, i have been on kaiser for almost all of my life. so a easy peazy deal. but i will be out in july 2025, yes a time away but that goes fast.

With the way that healthcare laws are changing, I very much doubt that much will be the same in 8 years as it is today. I don't think that I would spend much time researching that until you get closer to your time. 

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13 hours ago, packnrat said:

8 years will pass fast.

I do agree with that and early planning is good and can also be fun! Healthcare is probably the most difficult to plan for when you are that far out so if it were me, I'd keep it in mind but not spend a lot of time on it until you are much closer. Put most of your effort into things that can be managed early and study the RV market in both new and used to keep abreast of what is happening and to stay current on the latest innovations. I would also look into the various parts of the country to see what sort of RV accommodations are there and what they may cost as those items tend to change slowly and move with the economy. I would also spend some effort in looking at what you may want to do after your RV travels wind down as there are a lot of options to consider. I don't like to make any plan too iron clad as life tends to change things so flexibility is the key to all plans. 

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19 hours ago, packnrat said:

any source i can read and get good information so i can be set and ready in time? sure things will change by then but at least i can read and understand it. packnrat

What Kirk & Zula has said is very true. And I look back in my final 8 years before retirement your life can change drastically. Also find someone who is about 75 years old, who can take about the Health Care changes that happen yearly. One example I had Prescription plan that allowed my drugs I used to be purchased either 30 or 90 day supply at the cheapest rate. This year that Pharmacy that is not the cheapest rate.

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I  agree with the above except to say that it takes a while to get on top of healthcare and even though it WILL change you will be in a lot better position if you educate yourself. 

I suggest going to the Kaiser Family Foundation website and to gradually get up to date on the lingo. Here is one primer but they have many and they are constantly updating.   https://www.kff.org/uninsured/report/the-uninsured-a-primer-key-facts-about-health-insurance-and-the-uninsured-under-the-affordable-care-act/     https://www.kff.org/health-reform/faq/health-reform-frequently-asked-questions/              Also, if you go to an insurers website they also have general explainers (Blue Cross does) on a lot of the terminology that is swirling around.   

 

 

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yes i do have a source that is trying to deal with this. 

my mom (77).

trying to help her is tiresum.

and i do know so well about how just a something can change the rest of your life. at 21 bad accident. almost lost me or a leg.it mended but took almost three years.

but getting older (age30) my joints were in trouble.

then cancer. a fall.

had to be cut open for both one to take out another to put in.

and what took place within my family during these years.

sad for me, i get to support the drug factorys for the rest of my days.

but today is a bright sunny day. rained last night. lucky not tonight so i get to stay dry.

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