Cash or Trade for Healthcare

OK, so Health Care Reform passed. And recent college grads under the age of 26 are off the hook for now. And – who knows? – after 2014, maybe all of our problems will be solved. But in the meantime those of us in need of healthcare are just as screwed as ever.

Here’s my story: I’m 28 with great healthcare through a state job. Problem is, I’m leaving soon for a private job that doesn’t offer insurance because it’s not affordable for their small business. So now I’m shopping for health insurance in a market I know little about.

Headline reads: “Must get healthcare!”

Let me just say, “adult chores” make me wanna hop on the Phish tour and ignore that I have these problems, but those days are behind me. All I know is that if I don’t get a plan set up before August 1st, it’s not going to be pretty. Now, if I were 26 or younger, I could jump on my mom’s plan, but I’m not. Even if I were, that would only last for so long before I’d have to go to the market and find a plan that works for me.

So first, I looked into COBRA. My group insurance representative let me know that it would be $740/month to keep my coverage as it is. (Yeah. Not happening.)

Back to the drawing board, I started asking around to hear about what others are doing. Turns out people have all sorts of best practices, advice, words of caution, etc for young people. I learned you can establish a group plan or join a larger group of fellow professionals to lower the costs, but there are complications and it can take a lot of coordination. I also learned that you can submit a solo application online to a larger pool, much like people submit resumes to Monster. Some solutions I heard about were a bit more unconventional, like "marriages of convenience" to get on a spouse's plan.

I may hop on the Phish tour yet, but I fear there’s no way I’m getting out of this adult chore. So if you’re also feeling like you’ll never get out of this Maze of health insurance shopping, I’d love to hear from you. What are you doing to deal with high insurance costs?