Wednesday

I Need A New Individual Health Plan


 Happy Fourth of July, Independence Day.   My latest story is timely.  Those of you who know me well, know that I was quite ill last Fall and Winter.  One thing led to another and I ended up leaving my MSW position at Hospice Compassus to strike out on my own again.   


Leaving the job meant leaving my benefit package behind.  I was aware that this would cause some increased "insecurity" if I allowed it to. Overall the transition has been a good one and I am back in control of my own work life and schedule and I am happy to report that it is going very well!  


A few days ago I called a friend of mine, Susie Clarke, in Prescott.  Susie and her husband Dennis have been selling health insurance for years.  They do more than just sell insurance.  They do for people who need health insurance what I do for seniors --- they teach them, they guide them, they help them to navigate the system; to make the system work for them.   I told Susie my situation.  I knew she would give me the right answer.


Upon my resignation from hospice, I planned to remain covered with my BC/BS of Arizona policy under COBRA.   COBRA allows you to keep a health insurance policy for a period of 18 months.  What I didn't plan on was the increased premium based on my "unwell" status.   I may have left my Unwell status behind me but I find that now it keeps following me!  


When I contacted Susie to assist me in finding a good policy at a better price, she suggested waiting --- she suggested I establish a Track Record of WELLNESS before I apply for a new insurance plan.  Insurance companies review our health status much like they review a Financial Credit Report.  I will be better off improving my "score" by improving my health over the next 6-12 months.  


The real reason I write this post is because it may be Independence Day here in America, but we need to wonder how independent we really are.  Privacy laws and HIPAA, the Patriot Act are all supposed to protect our privacy, our identity.  But did you know this:  


There is a website you can log on to -- Go ahead, log onto it now.  It is www.mib.com  
You can apply for a full report on yourself -- and at no charge.  All you need to do is fill out a digital online disclosure form and you will have your own copy of your personal medical history report within 15 days.


The MIB database is a program that -- with your permission of course -- can access any and all of your medical records.  Much like a credit report, it shows your entire medical history from the day you were born until the present.  Insurance underwriters typically use this information to assign premiums and policies.   Physicians, hospitals and health care agencies are being required to be computerized, which helps MIB have timely and (hopefully) accurate digital information.  


The MIB Group has been in existence since 1902.